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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

South Florida Doctoral Student Earns PEO Scholar Award

USF College of Public Health doctoral candidate Ms. Isabella Chan has been selected as a recipient of the PEO’s Scholar Award, which she says will allow her to focus more completely on her dissertation work in Peru.

Ms. Chan was 100 out 738 nominees selected to receive the $15,000 award for the 2017-2018 academic year.

“The PEO Scholar Award is invaluable in allowing me to wholly focus on my dissertation and achieving my professional goals, and by proxy, the goals of the women with whom I work,” Ms. Chan said, who is working toward her PhD from the Department of Global Health.

[Photo: Ms. Chan with some of her close friends in the town of Carhuaz, the town in Peru where she’s currently residing. Here they are gathered together to honor the town’s patron saint—the Virgen Mercedes— during the annual fiesta of Mama Meche. Photo courtesy of Ms. Isabella Chan]

The PEO (Philanthropic Educational Organization) Scholar Award program provides educational awards to women who are pursuing a doctoral level degree at an accredited university, according to their website. The PEO membership includes a quarter of a million members in chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada, and the group has provided more than $21 million in Scholar Awards to date.

“I was thrilled to receive the news!” she said. “I am so honored to be selected as a PEO Scholar. I actually received the email after about a week with no phone or internet, which were down because of recent landslides.  I was scrolling through a mountain of emails I had to reply to and feeling overwhelmed, and the subject line caught my eye—I was so excited!”

Ms. Chan has been in Peru for the past 11 months working on her dissertation research, funded by the Inter-American Foundation’s Grassroots Development Fellowship.

She was one of 16 recipients of the fellowship and has been conducting field work in the Carhuaz province of Peru, focusing on rural and indigenous women’s decision-making around intimate partner violence (IPV) in non-western settings.

“As you can imagine, the research can be tough at times, emotionally challenging, but I’m very optimistic about the practical outcomes here in Carhuaz and the contributions to IPV research,” she said. “I’ve worked in the area consistently since 2012, so it’s like coming home.”

[Photo: Ms. Chan (second from left) was invited to participate in the local parade and celebration commemorating International Women’s Day. Photo courtesy of Ms. Isabella Chan]

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