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scholarship Archives - Community | Union Institute & University

Tangela Boyd, Ph.D. student

Pay it 1964ward – Doctoral student working to educate underserved populations in lactation

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The Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964ward campaign is underway and is already making a difference in the lives of our students. At Union, 100 percent of funds that donors designate to scholarships go directly to the student.

Scholarship recipient Tangela L. Boyd is passionate about using her Ph.D. to help bring about change for more perinatal education for black women. Her vision is to see black women gain more access to breastfeeding programs.

Tangela is an affiliate faculty member in the UI&U Maternal Child Health in Human Lactation degree program and a graduate of Union’s Master of Arts degree with a major in Health & Wellness and a concentration in Human Lactation. In addition, she is an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC), Certified Lactation Educator (CLE), Certified Childbirth Educator (CCCE), and Certified Postpartum Doula (CPD) who has a passion for working with breastfeeding mothers. She also is a member of United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) and International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA).

Tangela Boyd, Ph.D. studentIn the Q & A below, Tangela discusses her plans to use her Ph.D. to transform lives and communities by helping to eliminate maternal mortality among black women.

Q. How has the scholarship you received impacted your academic career?
A. My scholarship encourages me to keep moving forward with my education. It confirms my investment in Union and Union’s investment in me.

I’m the mom of four sons, a senior at West Point, a freshman at the University of Central Florida (UCF), and 14-year-old twins, so obviously, the scholarship is a blessing.

Q. Union’s goal is to transform lives and communities. Can you share how this goal impacts you and your community?
A. I want to use my Ph.D. to help transform the breastfeeding rates for black women.
Unfortunately, in the black culture, there are not a lot of women who breastfeed. If it were the norm, I do believe more women would consider breastfeeding. It can be hard promoting something that you really do not understand and live. There are negative perspectives such as a lack of support and a lack of confidence that affect the decisions of black women to breastfeed.

My goal is to create a lactation curriculum/program for the underserved population. Lactation education advancement is a key to changing this outcome. I want to create podcasts and work with HBCU’s to help change this disparity. Education and support can make a huge difference.

Q. Union is known for its commitment to social justice. How will social justice be interwoven in your career plans?
A. Union’s commitment to social justice is interwoven through the curriculum and faculty. Union brings out inequality issues. As a student and faculty member in the Maternal Health degree program, I am encouraged to discuss social justice issues with students and colleagues. As I continue to pursue my career, I plan to use what I learn at Union to provide support for increasing breastfeeding rates among black women and shed light on racial disparities and lack of access to good health care.

Q. What are your plans after you earn your degree?
A. I want to use my degree to develop lactation curriculum/programs to educate underserved populations, especially black women.

You can learn more about Tangela and her work at her web site Mommy Milk & Me Inc.

Support the next generation of leaders with your donation to the Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD campaign today. Click here to donate.

Dr. Shekhar Mitra

Pay it 1964WARD: Why I give back: Shekhar and Anu Mitra Honoring my parents’ spirit by supporting the next generation of leaders

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Union’s Pay it 1964WARD campaign is underway to make a difference in the lives of our students. At UI&U, 100 percent of funds designated to scholarships go directly to the student. Throughout 2020, we will feature a number of Union donors – alumni, trustees, friends, and others – who support Union and our goals to transform lives and communities. Please join them through Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD today.

Read how Dr. Shekhar Mitra and Union professor Dr. Anu Mitra established the M.K. and Kamala Mitra Scholarship Fund to honor the memory of his parents.

Dr. Shekhar MitraQ: We are launching the Pay it 1964Ward campaign to raise $1,964,000 to support our students achieve their dreams. You have been a longtime giver. Can you tell us why you give to Union? Why do you choose to invest in Union’s students?

A: Union fills a unique need for motivated adults who not only want to advance their careers but also are deeply passionate about serving their global communities. Both Union faculty and students are focused on understanding the world from an interdisciplinary standpoint; to explore new ways in which to engage the inquiry and experiential processes. Union represents a distinctive learning model where future generations of leaders practice open inquiry, inclusion, and dialogue to make an impact in the real world. We strongly believe in investing in Union and its students.

Q: Tell us about your parents and what inspired you to link the scholarship fund at Union to their memory.

Both my parents were an inspiration to Anu and I. They met as refugees from the partition of Bengal in India in the late 1940s as the British ended its colonial rule in India. My parents escaped the ravages of the riots as they fled from their home in Dacca to Calcutta. They had no permanent home for years and were sheltered by distant cousins who supported their livelihood and education. This allowed my father, M.K., to fulfill his career dream. He became one of the Indian government’s top economist and revenue officer.

However, my parents never forgot their roots and chose to support numerous refugee families and young adults to get their education in high schools and colleges. Anu and I wanted to honor their spirit by inspiring the entrepreneurial instincts of our Union students.

Q: Union is known for its commitment to social justice. Does that aspect of the university influence your decision to invest in Union and its students? If so, how?

I knew Union was the right university to establish the fund. Union’s commitment to social justice parallels our background and upbringing. We believe that the values of social justice, pluralism, and inclusion are important ground rules in our democratic society. We want to promote these ideas in our support of organizations and institutions. As an innovation leader of a major multinational for many decades, I have seen how diverse perspectives, multicultural teams, and globally diverse consumer inputs are able to shape breakthrough designs and drive the development of innovative products and services to meet customers’ needs. Anu believes that social justice principles are a central vision of human-centered learning. This, coupled with one’s desire to manifest into action what one knows, is the basis of a good life.

Q: Union’s goal is to transform lives and communities. You recently had an opportunity to meet a few students who have been awarded scholarships. Can you share your response to them after listening to their stories?

A: I was so impressed with the scholarship recipients. What is extraordinary is how they interweave their life’s experiences with the construction of hypotheses in their scholarly work. They lead as they learn, focusing on the practical ramifications of their scholarly work to touch and improve lives in the real world.

I would urge all stakeholders to consider their own way of supporting our deserving students and the unique place of learning at UI&U. Union students deserve our support.

Support the next generation of leaders with your donation.
Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD today. Click here to donate.

About Anu and Shekhar Mitra

Anu Mitra, Ph.D. is a professor in Union’s Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies program. She holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in English Literature and Women’s Studies. Dr. Mitra is drawn to interdisciplinarity and the idea that all problems are capable of being solved, but only if we are able to view multiple solutions through different lenses. She is the recent recipient of UI&U’s Herbert L. and Dr. Beth Alswanger Gopman Research Fund award and was awarded a Fulbright Specialist Award for 2020-2021. She has served as a docent at several museums and as a trustee on several arts-related boards, including the YWCA, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and Cincinnati Ballet.

Shekhar Mitra, Ph.D. is passionate about enabling younger generations of scientists and engineers across all cultures, companies, and businesses to achieve their full potential as professionals. The life scientist spent 29 years at Procter & Gamble, retiring as senior vice president, Global Innovation. He holds more than 50 patents, and now, post-retirement, serves as a member of the UI&U Board of Trustees, works as a board member and strategic adviser to several Fortune 500 companies, new ventures, and a private equity company. In 2010, he was awarded the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor and is listed in the U.S. Congressional Record for his contributions to improving lives through his impact on consumer meaningful innovations and community service. You may read more about his illustrious career here.

Keara Wrightsman

Pay it 1964WARD – From homelessness to college student

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Union’s Pay it 1964WARD campaign is underway to make a difference in the lives of our students. At UI&U, 100 percent of funds designated to scholarships goes directly to the student. Throughout 2020, we will feature a number of Union scholarship recipients. Learn how that support fulfilled their educational dreams and helped them become a force for positive change in their communities and the world at large.

Keara Wrightsman

Talbert House honors Keara Wrightsman as Employee of the Year. Left to right, James Wilson, Talbert House Vice President Housing Service Line with Keara at the Talbert House Annual Employee Appreciation Celebration.

Union psychology major Keara Vogt Wrightsman knows what it is to hit rock bottom.

“I was homeless for 10 years before I entered a treatment facility in 2014. I lived in abandoned buildings and on park benches. I lived on the street, addicted to opiates, like 23 million other Americans.”

She has come a long way. Now a student in Union’s Bachelor of Arts program, she works fulltime at Talbert House — a nonprofit that helps men, women, and children throughout Southwest Ohio overcome adversity to become healthy and productive citizens. She works with homeless veterans to find housing and employment, and assists them with Social Security claims. She also volunteers for the Affordable Housing Advocates, the Homeless Clearinghouse, and the Veterans Work Group. In 2018, she was named the Talbert House Employee of the Year for her outstanding work placing homeless veterans into housing and assisting them with employment and expedited Social Security claims.

“I am pursuing a bachelor’s in psychology in order to help treat and assess those who have been where I have and the understanding and knowledge to also help those who have been where I haven’t,” said Wrightsman. “My career goal is to be a clinical case manager and move on to my master’s degree. I hope my story is an example to others who are struggling.”

Her determination to change her outcome was recognized with another award, the Jimmy Render Award from the Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, given to homeless or formerly homeless individuals who have defied the odds and subsequently committed themselves to addressing the needs of people experiencing homelessness.

“Because of my homeless-related background, no one would hire me. Finally, Talbert House took a chance on me. My passion is to help people; especially those without a home or who are afflicted with addiction. In order to do that on all levels and to the fullest, I need to have a degree and higher education. A lot of change comes from the work groups and systematic change is needed for permanent change,” said Wrightsman.

Recently, her job paved the way for her to buy a home for her family. Keara achieved her first goal: to recover. Her second goal is to further her education to become a clinical case manager. She says, “I hope my story is an example to others who are struggling. My passion is to learn all I can, and also be involved in my community, building strategic plans to change the course of thousands of lives, just like mine.”

Union took a chance on her too by offering her a scholarship.

“This is my second time at Union. I had started in 2013 and I had to drop out. I needed a university that respects my work and life schedule. Union does that for me.”

Keara’s advice for students is to stay focused. “Don’t give up and reach out when you need help. Never give up!”

UI&U doesn’t give up on students either. Your support will fulfill students’ educational dreams and helped them become a force for positive change in their communities and the world at large.

Please donate today to the Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD campaign.