Graphic by Heidi McDonough
June 22, 2021
At the University of Delaware, the community of alumni, parents, friends, faculty, staff, and students is truly Blue Hen Strong.
In May 2020, the University established the Blue Hen Strong Fund to deal with unforeseen financial burdens on students during the coronavirus pandemic. To date, over 6,500 donors have donated over $ 767,000 to the Blue Hen Strong Fund to support UD students.
“The outpouring of support for the Blue Hen Strong Fund is inspiring and humbling,” said Jim Dicker, vice president of development and alumni relations at UD. “The university community has truly answered the call to help Blue Hens who need it most, by providing our students with immediate and long-term resources so they can be successful at UD and beyond.”
The contributions have already made a profound difference in the lives of students – providing assistance with tuition fees, support with accommodation and food, advanced technology and assistance through a laptop loan program. and more. As students’ resource needs change and they continue to navigate an ever-changing environment, the Blue Hen Strong Fund – powered by generous donors – is now providing support to enhance two additional resources for students at the UD: The Center for Black Culture’s (CBC) Each One Reach One Mentorship Program (EORO) and Career Center Student Internship Scholarship Program.
The EORO Mentorship Program was established in 1994 with a mission to provide black freshmen with an upper-class peer mentor to help them move from high school to college, providing support to build a community among the Blacks. Blue Hens. The program offers educational and leadership workshops, mentoring events and affirms the positive development of racial identity. The ultimate goal of the mentoring program is to provide meaningful support and encourage students to continue their academic journey at UD until graduation.
“I really believe in EORO. I joined the first year and it helped me connect with the black community at UD and build the relationships I have with current and past students as well as with staff today, ” said Aliyah Bennett, class of 2021. “EORO taught me how to become a better me and be more honest and open with myself on my path in life.
As the EORO continues to be very successful, the new everyday funding will expand the program to include more extensive links between alumni and students.
“We appreciate the opportunity to expand this program as the support from the Blue Hen Strong Fund comes at a time when racism in America continues to create navigation challenges on many levels,” said Kasandra Moye, Director of the CBC. “So helping black freshmen feel more confident and connected on the path to success at UD and beyond is more important than ever. Over the next few months, Radio-Canada will work with the main stakeholders to develop a multi-year action plan to ensure greater success for our students. ”
The Student Internship Fellowship Program will also benefit from the Blue Hen Strong Fund this year, providing financial support to students for unpaid internships, often found in government, public policy, nonprofit organizations, social, arts, media and entertainment services. These grants of up to $ 1,500 for the winter session and $ 4,000 for the summer session offset living, travel and other costs associated with carrying out these experiences.
By eliminating the financial challenges associated with unpaid internships, students will have the opportunity to gain critical work experience, develop new skills, better understand career paths, and increase their employability through graduation. .
“The results of two recent employer surveys show that relevant internship experience influences a hiring decision more than the overall average, major criteria or otherwise,” said Nathan Elton, director of UD’s Career Center. “Some students have to forgo hours of paid jobs to find time to do internships in industries where these experiences often go unpaid. We want students to pursue and complete the most impactful internships that will advance their careers and not be held back by financial hardship. “
Applications for internship support have increased by 266% over the past two summers and only 10% of applicants received grants in the summer of 2021 due to the availability of funds. Support from the Blue Hen Strong Fund will ensure that the Career Center has the necessary funding to provide scholarships to more needy students now, as well as to meet the growing need for student internships.
Sharon Kung, class of 2022, is majoring in Biological Sciences with an emphasis on Prehealth as part of the Medical Scholars Program to prepare for medical school. Kung received internship scholarships last summer and for the recent winter term, which allowed him to have meaningful hands-on experiences with patients through a local doctor’s office.
Last summer, Kung spent his time identifying and calling patients late for their wellness appointments, reducing the percentage of patients with gaps in care. Over the winter, she interned in the same office, but focused her time on organizing two community blood drives in Newark, Delaware – one with the American Red Cross and one with the Bank of blood of Delmarva. Readers have collected enough units to save 180 lives, as well as convalescent plasma for COVID-19 patients.
“In both experiences, I was exposed to the health environment and worked with a diverse population,” Kung said. “I am really grateful to have the opportunity to continue with the internships. As a future practitioner they have given me an experience of interacting with patients and it is not something I can achieve in a classroom. During COVID, many internships were virtual, but the scholarships allowed me to do mine in person since I used them to pay for housing. Being in the healthcare environment and interacting with patients and blood donors in person has really improved my experience.
With new financial support from the Blue Hen Strong Fund, Elton said he’s thrilled that more students are having the same kind of transformational experiences.
“We are grateful to all of the UD community members who have donated to the Blue Hen Strong Fund,” Elton said. “Every gift, regardless of size, has helped students make connections, develop professional skills, and thrive in the workforce and the workplace. ”
As students’ needs for resources and opportunities continue to evolve, the Blue Hen Strong Fund will remain an unrestricted fund to continue to help the Blue Hens who need it most. To give a present today, Click here.