Stefanie graduated from high school in New Delhi, India. During her three-year stay there, Stefanie was involved in several education-based service ventures. She volunteered for Hope Foundation to spread awareness about the education crisis in India and help raise funds for the construction of a new school in the outskirts of Chennai in southern India.
When Stefanie moved back to the United States to attend university she planned to remain loyal to Hope Foundation India but also wanted to diversify her service. Her first year at Vanderbilt, Stefanie volunteered at Ten Thousand Villages and learned more about the importance of fair trade products. She also tutored two first graders at McGavock Elementary School and helped cook dinners with former prisoners at the Dismas House. The summer after her first year at Vanderbilt she volunteered at the oncology ward of the San Jorge children’s hospital and volunteered at a two-week summer camp for Type I diabetic kids in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She tried a little bit of everything but it wasn’t long before she wanted to focus her efforts on community youth development and education again.
In fact, it wasn’t until the Ingram Scholarship Program hosted panels and lectures on the shortcomings of the American public education system that Stefanie realized how intense the disparity between private and public school educations in the United States really is.
Thus, her sophomore year she helped Ingram alumnus Jake Ramsey (2009) start Maplewood Mentorship at a local public school in Nashville. She also took a community youth development class that spring, which led her to serve at Manenberg Primary School in Cape Town, South Africa as part of the VISAGE South Africa summer service learning experience.
Later the same summer, Stefanie attended a Human Rights and Immigration conference hosted by the Utrecht Network at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. There she studied the consequences and implications of illegal immigration in Europe.
This inspired Stefanie to volunteer at an organization dedicated to helping immigrant children in Aix-en-Provence, France. While studying abroad there, in the fall of her junior year, Stefanie also interned at a local public school and helped students improve their verbal English skills.
When Stefanie returned to Nashville after studying abroad she was eager to learn more about school development and the charter school system so she interned for Lead Public Schools.
Stefanie is immensely grateful to the Ingram Scholarship Program for helping her maximize her college experience, by exposing her to the realities of life in Nashville. Thanks to the program she was able to carefully analyze some of the most pressing domestic issues with her peers and was given the resources and support needed to serve the local Nashville community.