2018 BDIC Scholarship Awardees


Juan Martinez-Munoz - Class of 2018
Juan Martinez-Munoz ’18, majoring in Educational Television, was chosen for the BDIC Bright Idea Scholarship

Dempsey Award: The Dempsey Award was established many years ago by BDIC alumnus, John Dempsey, for the purpose of enhancing the scope of BDIC students’ educational experiences. The awards are made on the basis of the individual merits of the student’s application. All of these students will be using their award to support their internship experiences or study abroad, and sometimes a combination of both. This year’s awardees were:

Rachel Haley ’19, Global Health; Julie Ehrlich ’20, International Relations and Affairs; Kanako Ichikawa ’20, English Education in Japan; and Michelle Piscopo ’19, Marketing and Corporate Psychology.

Lewis C. Mainzer Award: The Mainzer Creativity Award is given each year to a student who demonstrates a sense of strong interdisciplinarity by combining the arts with other disciplines, such as political science and other social sciences. This year, Natalie Roosa ’19, Civic Studies, received the award.

BDIC Bright Idea Scholarship: The Bright Idea Scholarship was created by a successful BDIC alums who wanted to be able to give back to the program by supporting other budding entrepreneurs. Juan Martinez-Munoz ’18, Educational Television, was chosen for the award so he could continue his work with MILA Solutions, a nonprofit consulting company he started to promote community outreach through media. The focus of MILA Solutions is helping small business owners and business owners of color build a strong infrastructure for their businesses.


Leah Boutelle
Leah Boutelle ’19, majoring in Nutraceuticals, Medicine and Healthcare Justice, receives the Maia Felisse McDermott Award

Maia Felisse McDermott Award: The McDermott Award is awarded to students who demonstrate a commitment to inspiring others through their academic focus. It was created in memory of a BDIC student whose life was cut short in 2010 before her graduation. Leah Boutelle ’19, Nutraceuticals, Medicine and Healthcare Justice, is this year’s recipient. It is her goal through her BDIC focus to become a physician and to bring greater justice and equality to the medical field.

In addition, Michael Crowley, 19, Integrated Environmental Education, won the prestigious Udall Scholarship, an award for leadership, public service, and commitment to issues related to Native American nations or the environment.


Michael Crowley
Michael Crowley, 19, majoring in Integrated Environmental Education, won the prestigious Udall Scholarship


Alumni Scholarships

Thanks to the generosity of our alumni, BDIC is able each year to award a number of additional scholarships to promote study abroad, internships, and research. This year the winners are:

Melinda Barrett ’19, Marketing for Sustainability, is using her BDIC award to fund a study abroad trip to Costa Rica. Her goal for this trip is to be able to tie both the field of marketing and the field of sustainability together, so she can gain a better understanding of approaches to sustainability in the business world. Courses such as ecotourism, environmental resource consumption, and environmental impact are just a few of the many opportunities the program has to offer. Most of all, Barrett believes that this trip will create a foundation for her future career goals, which will help her to align herself in her profession after graduation.

Sopharanny Houn ’18, International Relations, studied in Spain during the summer of 2018 to partake in the University of Salamanca study abroad program thanks to her scholarship. Houn hopes that by studying and immersing herself in the Spanish culture, she will not only strengthen her Spanish speaking abilities, but also learn more about Spain’s unique economic position. She is considering a graduate program in economics in Spain.

Bernice Kwade ’19, Political Economy of West Africa, will be traveling to Accra, Ghana, to begin an internship at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There, she will be working under an official of the state, learning about Ghana’s contemporary politics and culture. Kwade also aims to start a study abroad program at the University of Ghana. Her BDIC scholarship helped to make this travel possible.

Jeremy Paradie ’20, Creative Expression through Mechatronic Systems, is using his BDIC award to help fund research and development on robotic assembly of digital materials. The goal of his research is to develop technology that “. . .enables robots to build arbitrary structures (such as shelters or bridges),” and then disassemble and recycle them after they are no longer being used. With a few successful prototypes already built, Paradie’s next step is to continue his research to bring these inventions to fruition.

Elizabeth Polvere ’19, Marketing, Advertising, and Arts Administration, worked in the summer of 2018 as a marketing intern for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. During her time there, she learned about the business structure and history of the museum, while providing intensive marketing services for the organization. While this was an opportunity of a lifetime, it took the help of a BDIC scholarship to make it possible.

Natalie ‘Nat’ Roosa ’19, Civic Studies, took part in the spring 2018 Grassroots Community Organizing (GCO) course. She travelled to New York City with her class to work with several different grassroots organizations. Throughout her time there, she worked primarily for an app-based drivers union known as the Independent Driver’s Guild (IDG). Roosa’s work consisted mostly of phone banking, canvassing, and the documenting the hardships/struggles drivers undergo during their job. With the support of her BDIC scholarship, Roosa continued working for IDG over the summer with the hope that she would learn what it means to be a labor organizer.

Stephanie Smith ’19, Primatology and Conservation, worked as an intern in Belize over the summer of 2018. She interned at an animal preservation organization called Wild Tracks. This experience ties in directly to Smith’s BDIC major.

Amanda Welch ’20, International Sustainable Business, studied in Cambodia this summer and will return this upcoming spring so that she may be able to gain hands-on experience with sustainable business practices.

Emilia Beuger ’19, International Relations and Human Rights, interned at the Neighborhood Legal Services Association in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There, she worked with low-income tenants on their housing cases, while conducting legal research, helping prepare clients for court, and doing legal writing.

Riley Walter ’20, Music Production and Sound Engineering, interned over the summer at Northfire Recording Studio in Amherst to learn more about the technical mechanics of audio engineering and how music is created. During his time at Northfire, Walter worked with various artists from across the region, while learning more about the inner mechanisms that impact the sound recording business.

Nikolai Wright ’19, Music, Business, and Policy, plans to study at the University of Manchester, England, in the fall of 2018. He will enroll in courses ranging from a variety of focuses, including arts, business, and communication, as well as interdisciplinary courses. He hopes that his time in Manchester will solidify and expand his current knowledge of his field.