Walden University Scholars of Change Effect Positive Social Change Around the World

$50,000 awarded to Scholars whose inspiring videos document efforts to make a difference in their communities
Dec 16, 2013 2:00 PM ET

Minneapolis, December 16, 2013 /3BL Media/ — From helping young victims of human trafficking to supporting veterans returning to civilian life in the United States, more than 200 Walden University students and alumni submitted inspiring videos of social change in their communities for the university’s 2013 Scholars of Change video contest.

Five scholars each received $7,500 plus a $2,500 donation to the charity of their choice. The winners—along with hundreds of their fellow video contributors—are supporting Walden’s mission and putting their knowledge to use for the greater good.

The 2013 Scholars of Change and their designated charities are:

  • Andrea Baer, a B.S. in Political Science and Public Administration student from Jeanette, Penn. In partnership with Mended Little Hearts, she is a mother on a mission to make a difference in the lives of families with children who are born with congenital heart defects. Her charity donation will go to The Mended Hearts, Inc.
  • Dr. Heather Macdonald, a Ph.D. in Psychology alumna from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Her revolutionary Tri-Optimal Learning Model is being used around the world to provide students with learning disabilities an opportunity to excel in the classroom. Her charity donation will go to Christians’ Haven.
  • Bakali Mukasa, a Ph.D. in Health Services student from Malden, Mass. Through his nonprofit, Face of Hope International, he is working to improve livelihoods and create opportunities for underprivileged children and families in rural communities of Uganda. His charity donation will go to Face of Hope International, Inc.
  • Derek Neuts, an M.S. in Psychology student from Troutdale, Ore. He and his wife created the Institute for Veteran Cultural Studies, a nonprofit dedicated to rethinking the paradigm for how veterans reintegrate, heal and succeed in the civilian world. His charity donation will go to Human Solutions.
  • Courtney Skiera, a Ph.D. in Psychology student from Bluff City, Tenn. She divides her time between Kwagala Project, a nonprofit that empowers young victims of human trafficking, and a.k.a. HOPE, an organization that assists children and families in Uganda. Her charity donation will go to Kwagala Project.

“I want to make education—the magic that transformed my life—accessible to every child in Uganda,” Mukasa said. With the donation from the Scholars of Change video contest, his organization will be able to provide the support needed to construct a dining hall to create a healthier eating environment for students in the community they serve.

Other inspiring stories of social change from Walden students and alumni include working toward the academic success of refugee children, providing support for students affected by Hurricane Sandy, improving hygiene practices to advance healthcare in Uganda, generating awareness of prostate cancer and advocating for marriage equality. The five winning Scholars of Change videos and 12 honorable mention entries are available for viewing online at www.WaldenU.edu/scholarsvideos.

The Scholars of Change program began in 2009 when Walden invited students and alumni to submit short videos showing how they were applying their Walden education and experiences to bring about positive social change in their communities and around the globe.

About Walden University

For more than 40 years, Walden University has supported working professionals in achieving their academic goals and making a greater impact in their professions and their communities. Today, more than 50,000 students from all 50 states and more than 145 countries are pursuing their bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees online at Walden. The university provides students with an engaging educational experience that connects them with expert faculty and peers around the world. Walden is the flagship online university in the Laureate International Universities network—a global network of more than 75 campus-based and online universities in 30 countries.

Walden offers more than 75 degree programs with more than 385 specializations and concentrations. Areas of study include health sciences, counseling, human services, management, psychology, education, public health, nursing, public administration and information technology. For more information, visit www.WaldenU.edu. Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association, www.ncahlc.org.


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Media Contact:

Jerry Sweitzer