Congratulations to the 2018 recipient of the Angelo Bonadonna, Jr. Study Abroad Scholarship
Saint Xavier University (SXU) is committed to providing opportunities for students to explore global connections and gain a deep understanding of other countries and cultures. Whether they are working as a part of a service team or an individual studying abroad, students are continuously traveling around the world experiencing the SXU core values along their journeys.
An SXU associate professor and chair of the Language and Literature Department, Angelo Bonadonna, Ph.D., and his family are especially dedicated to helping students who wish to live and learn in another country. In memory of their late son, Angelo Bonadonna, Jr., the Bonadonna family established a scholarship fund for students of any major who want to study abroad.
"One thing most students assume when it comes to scholarships that it is based on GPA or career pursuits, but that's not the case with this scholarship," said Kelly Fox Reidy, director of the Center for International Education. "This scholarship has heart."
The only requirement to qualify for the scholarship is that students must submit an essay detailing why they want to study abroad. The family looks for students who display the same exploratory passion that Bonadonna, Jr. demonstrated throughout his life.
"We want to see that the student has the same spirit of adventure for studying abroad that Angelo Jr. had," said Fox Reidy. "We want to see their personality and in a way, see Angelo reflected back at us."
Violetta Montes was the 2017 recipient of the scholarship and returned from her trip to London, England on May 3. Montes and Bonadonna, Jr. had a unique connection that made her a standout to the committee: their mutual love of The Beatles. While visiting Liverpool during her trip Montes was even able to visit where members of the band lived, where they met and even specific places that inspired some of their music. She is grateful for her experiences and knows that the trip would not have been possible without the generosity of the Bonadonna family.
"I began asking questions and expressing interest a year in advance because I wanted to make sure I could do whatever had to be done," said Montes. "If I didn't, I wouldn't have known about the Bonadonna Scholarship, so I am very fortunate to have known about it when I did and even more grateful to have been a recipient."
The 2018 recipient of the scholarship is sophomore International Studies major, Tajah Thomas! Thomas was chosen by the committee based on her embodiment of a curious and adventurous soul who has a unique enthusiasm for studying abroad.
"What really struck all of us about Tajah was her reason her wanting to study abroad," said Fox Reidy. "She wants the opportunity to be a stranger in a strange land and experience life as an outsider. She wants to see how others live and live as they live. In that way, we saw a strong connection between Tajah and Angelo Jr."
Thomas is incredibly grateful and humbled to have been awarded the scholarship. Planning to study in Grenoble, France, she knows that the experience she will gain will stay with her for the rest of her life. Thomas said, "This scholarship for me means the opportunity for me to take a chance, to go outside of my comfort zone in the hopes that I will come out with new perspectives and a stronger and true appreciation for another culture."
Although she has attended a service trip in Belize with Campus Ministry, this will be the first study abroad experience for Thomas. She recognizes how challenging it can be to visit a new place — especially when there are language and cultural barriers. However, Thomas will not run away from the opportunity to participate in as many activities as she can.
"As a student, it's our job to learn what we can from it and engage in it, whether it be learning the kind of significance different mannerisms they may have or simply knowing how to follow them," said Thomas. "This scholarship means my ability to make a conscious effort to feel my privilege and know the kind of impact it has on others."