University of Vermont

Donald H. DeHayes Multicultural Scholarship Benefits Ten Rubenstein School Students

Multicultural Scholar Jon Liang (3rd from left) in Alaska with the Wild Rockies Field Institute
Multicultural Scholar Jon Liang (3rd from left) in Alaska with the Wild Rockies Field Institute

In 2006, a long-time friend of the Rubenstein School made an anonymous gift to establish an endowed scholarship honoring the leadership, dedication, and passion of then Dean Don DeHayes.

The donor requested that Don determine the criteria for the scholarship. Given Don’s commitment to fostering multicultural diversity in the School for over a decade, including his work to establish a partnership with the High School for Environmental Studies in New York City, and his quest for an endowed scholarship to benefit multicultural diversity in the Rubenstein School, Don knew exactly what kind of scholarship he wanted to bear his name.

Upon learning of the newly created Donald H. DeHayes Multicultural Scholarship, another close friend of the School contributed an anonymous gift to help further the endowment. In 2007, the first scholarship was awarded to Shi Chao Zheng (NR ’11), a graduate of the High School for Environmental Studies. Since then, nine more students have benefited from the scholarship, including one graduate student, Kirsten Brewer (MS-NR ’13).

Our current DeHayes Scholars at UVM, Jonathan Liang (ENSC), Laura Kim (ENSC), Jacqueline Cardoza (ENVS), Manuel Rivera (NR), and Gaviota Compres (ENVS), have been busy during their time in the Rubenstein School.

Last summer, Jon Liang studied Alaskan policy and ecology in the Tongass National Forest with the Wild Rockies Field Institute. Jon graduates this May with a major in Environmental Sciences, Environmental Biology concentration, and a minor in Geospatial Technologies.

“Being funded with the Donald H. DeHayes Multicultural Scholarship this past year has been an honor,” states Jon. “This scholarship has provided me a better opportunity to participate fully in my last semesters here at UVM. I feel gifted knowing that there are kind strangers out in the world who are willing to support my education, and I am truly thankful for their generosity. After I graduate, I was going to work at my father's restaurant for the summer, and I've been yearning to learn Mandarin Chinese to get closer with my family and my own heritage. As for the fall, I was planning on applying to the SCA [Student Conservation Association] and other internships.”

Laura Kim has interned at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center and in the Aiken Center as a Green Building Intern. She currently works in the Spatial Analysis Lab and is a Rubenstein School Steward. Laura graduates this May with a major in Environmental Sciences, Conservation Biology and Biodiversity concentration, and a minor in Geospatial Technologies. Junior Manuel Rivera will travel this summer to South Dakota for an internship with the Nature Conservancy, and junior Jacqueline Cardoza will travel to Kenya for a field practicum in public health and the environment. Gaviota Compres is a sophomore who is a graduate of the High School for Environmental Studies. This summer she hopes to participate in a National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Backpacking Alaska Expedition.

Gaviota says, “As an Environmental Studies major in the Rubeinstein School, I truly think we benefit from having people from all sorts of environmental, economic, and social backgrounds to gain different understandings and experiences.”

Our alumni recipients have been working in the environmental field and continuing their studies. Shi Chao is currently pursuing an M.S. in Sustainability Management at Columbia University. Olivia Bulger (ENVS ’12) has worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer for Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, practicing environmental education with at-risk youth and starting an urban gardening project for low-income families in Burlington. Amy Pennock (ENVS ’13) has worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer with Burlington’s Community and Economic Development Office’s We All Belong program.

Graduate student recipient Kirsten Brewer graduated in October 2013. Her Master’s project was titled Hosting RACE: Building Capacity for Multicultural Education in an Environmental Museum. Kirsten now works in Vermont as the Assistant Director for National Service Programs at the Washington County Youth Services Bureau.

"The Donald H. DeHayes Multicultural Scholarship has greatly benefited our students and our School community by continuing the efforts of former Dean Don DeHayes to bring diversity, understanding, and a blending of cultures and perspectives to our educational and environmental missions in the Rubenstein School," acknowledges Marie Vea-Fagnant, Assistant Dean for Student Services and Staff Development.