Lacey-funds Support Study Abroad

Lacey-funds beneficiary Holzhuter '21 to study in Tanzania

November 18, 2019
Mark Tarnacki
Staff Writer

Riley Holzhuter ’21

Supported by funds from the Brian Lacey ’72 International Fellowship in Social Justice, Saint Michael’s College student Riley Holzhuter ’21 will spend a semester living, learning and serving in Tanzania while she studies wildlife conservation and political ecology during the coming spring 2020 semester.

Peggy Imai, the College’s director of study abroad, announced this year’s Lacey Fellowship recipient in early November 2019. Imai emphasized how important Lacey’s support continues to be for Study Abroad and to the College in general.

Holzhuter, a junior environmental studies and sociology double-major from Dover, N.H., will receive $2,500 toward her expenses for intensive academic and experiential learning about culture, language immersion and activities that promote social justice in her study-location through an established program of the School for International Training.

Preparing for Peace Corps Service

In her application essay for the scholarship, Holzhuter wrote of her hopes to serve in the Peace Corps after college, noting that for the majority of her young adult life she has been “deeply engaged with ideas of social justice,” particularly on a global scale. “It first began when I was applying to colleges. I sought out Saint Michael’s because they had the program I felt destined to be a part of” – namely, the College’s Peace Corps Preparatory Program, she said.

Those plans, she wrote, would seem to make study abroad essential “to broaden my knowledge via a global experience.” The program to which she is applying through SIT once was used to train Peace Corps volunteers, and the structure of the program is intended to educate students in their area of interest while also being culturally immersive. Beyond deepening her understanding on environmental conservation and political/social structures in Tanzania, she said, “I hope to make personal connections with the people I meet and gain a new lens to view the world in hopes of being part of the shift in society that will create the greatest good for the greatest number of people.”

The Lacey funds would help her be able to participate in several educational excursions during her stay as she spends time living with a host family and camping for more than 25 days.  She also will visit conservation sites and participate in an internship. One intended result of her semester will be “publishing a powerful description of the experience” for a more extensive audience through campus media or the Global Eyes photo contest, she said, adding that she also has an interest in possibly presenting about what she learns as a volunteer or recruiter for the SIT program.

Influences and experiences

A graduate of Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover, NH, Holzhuter works in the mailroom at Saint Michael’s and participated in a MOVE service trip through Edmundite Campus Ministry as a sophomore when she joined a group that went to Big Thicket, Texas, to participate in environmental-justice-based volunteer work in that community as well as at the Big Thicket National Preserve. “Other than academics, my big hobby is running which I got into about a year ago, and I hope to run a marathon in the future with some close friends of mine,” she said.

She intends to join the Peace Corps for the years following her graduation “and after that, my intent is to be involved with nonprofits,” said Holzhuter, who expressed gratitude to her mother, “as she has always encouraged me to travel and continues to support my goals of pursuing service abroad.”

About Lacey Fellowships

The Brian Lacey International Fellowship in Social Justice is designed to encourage and honor students who have demonstrated superior academic achievement as well as a dedication to a deeper understanding of issues and social-justice. This merit-and need-based award is intended to recognize students who show initiative, imagination and motivation to apply their academic skills to the betterment of humanity.

The fellowship is offered once each semester. They are funded through gifts from Brian Lacey ’72 — president of Lacey Entertainment, a New York-based worldwide television marketing, production and distribution company. Lacey is also founder and director of the Kilkea Foundation, a non-profit organization that encourages and honors excellence in the humanities, arts and sciences. This benefactor also has established the Henry G. Fairbanks Endowed Chair in the Humanities at Saint Michael’s through the Kilkea Foundation.

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