Nord Scholarship Gives a Helping Hand to an International Communication Student

Wafi Habib

UMass Amherst Communication major Wafi Habib received the 2020 Elaine E. Nord Scholarship. He spent the summer as a media intern on the #GreaterAs1 campaign with Church World Service, a non-profit organization focused on refugee resettlement.

Habib, originally from Brunei, a country in South East Asia, found the internship through the SBS in DC summer internship program. He initially planned to intern in Washington D.C. and use scholarship money for groceries, transportation, and daily necessities. But then the pandemic hit, and because he’s an international student, he found himself without a home and no family to fall back on.

“So, I was in need of even more financial stability than ever before,” said Habib. “Receiving this scholarship truly is one of the most meaningful things to happen at my time here at UMass.”

The scholarship, Elaine E. Nord Internship Fund for Creative Communications, is made possible through a generous donation from alumna Elaine E. Nord, a 1981 UMass Amherst graduate, who majored in Communication. It is designed to help offset expenses related to a Communication major’s unpaid summer internship in production or creative communications.

Habib completed the work remotely, including working on the organization’s social media, writing press releases, and creating and editing short videos for the official Church World Service social media pages. Despite the challenge of remotely working while in a different time zone, Habib was glad everything worked out in the end. The scholarship allowed him to move forward with the internship, albeit not the way he had imagined.

“Having to stay on my friend’s couch while I remained in the country, with not many other options, this scholarship truly helped me sustain myself during such uncertain times.”

Currently, Habib is taking the academic year off, and will return to campus once the global situation improves. He’s looking forward to brighter days ahead.

“I’m excited to return eventually, and to meet everyone again,” said Habib. “I hope to gain more practical experience to prepare me for after I graduate from UMass, and hopefully pursue a career in the media industry.”

Communication undergraduates who plan to take a for-credit summer internship and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 are eligible for the scholarship.

-- Emily Brooks ‘21