Support for Study Abroad
Phyllis Howser Scholp understands the impact that living in another country – even for a short period of time – can have on an entire life. Early in her teaching career, Scholp taught at a U.S. Air Force base in Japan. During that year, she traveled extensively within Japan as well as to Thailand, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. It was a life-changing year of experiencing other peoples and cultures.
At Ohio Northern University, students are afforded similar life-changing opportunities through programs offered by the ONU Study Abroad Office. For some students, the lack of financial assistance for these programs has been a barrier. Now, thanks to Scholp, it doesn’t have to be.
Scholp never had the opportunity to study abroad while she was a student. But as someone who knows just how impactful that experience can be, she decided to break down financial barriers and help students follow their dreams – wherever on the Earth they may be. Hence, the Karen Condeni-Phyllis Howser Scholp Study Abroad Scholarship was born.
Karen Condeni, BA ’74, was the first person Scholp met at ONU when she and her daughter Kathy made a college visit in 1992. The now-retired director of admissions for ONU was instrumental in all three of Scholp’s children, Kathleen Ross Scholp, BA ’96; Christopher Scholp, BSME ’97; and Matthew Scholp, BA ’00, attending ONU.
“No matter the issue or concern, Karen was very graciously my ‘go to’ person for nine years,” says Scholp.
Today, Scholp and Condeni remain close friends. When Scholp decided to give back to Ohio Northern for the wonderful educations her children received and all the love and joy her family experienced through ONU, she thought of her friend Karen. She’d been her ‘go-to’ all those years, and now she’d be her ‘go-to’ for naming an endowed scholarship she established at ONU. Because of their shared interest and friendship, Condeni insisted that both of their names be on the scholarship.
Condeni is a Polar Bear through and through, first as a student, then as an alumna and administrator, retiring after serving as a vice president. Three of her four children attended the University. She also is a donor to the scholarship.
“I was greatly humbled and honored that my friend Phyllis would establish a scholarship in my name,” says Condeni. “This scholarship was established to enhance the international experience of ONU students through studying abroad. Both Phyllis and I support the diversity of such experiences as a foundation to a well-rounded education. Meeting others from different cultures and backgrounds enriches one’s outlook and perspective. We mutually want to see each selected scholarship student make a positive difference in the lives of others due to this opportunity.”
This fall, the inaugural Karen Condeni-Phyllis Howser Scholp Study Abroad Scholarship was awarded to Gabrielle Sprinkle, marketing major in the College of Business Administration and University Honors program participant. Sprinkle is spending the fall semester studying at Glasgow Caledonian University in Glasgow, Scotland, through an ONU-affiliated study abroad program. The Condeni-Scholp Study Abroad Scholarship is for students who would like to study in a European or Asian country, and it preferences students pursuing a major or minor in the College of Arts & Sciences.
“I’d been looking into shorter study abroad opportunities over the summer, but an entire semester in Scotland was beyond my wildest dreams. The only downside of it was that it would cost more than me going to ONU for a semester. Receiving this scholarship was honestly such a weight off my back. The amount was more than enough to cover my round-trip plane ticket from Cincinnati to Glasgow. It was such a blessing, and I’m so grateful to the donors who helped to make it happen,” says Sprinkle.
The Condeni-Scholp scholarship arrived at the perfect time for ONU students as study abroad is gaining in popularity. In the 2018 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), 16 percent of ONU seniors self-reported that they have participated in a study abroad experience. That is a 6 percent increase from just two years ago and well above the average of ONU’s Carnegie Peer institutions (11 percent).
With the Karen Condeni-Phyllis Howser Scholp Study Abroad Scholarship, ONU finds itself in the enviable position of building strength upon strength. ONU’s Study Abroad Office has provided incredible opportunities for students, and now ONU’s generous tradition of donor support is working in concert to make more of these opportunities attainable for ONU students.