Meet our 2021 SACC Slovak Scholars!
The success of the raffle fundraiser at The 27th Annual Slovak Ball in 2020 has enabled the Slovak-American Cultural Center to award scholarships in both 2020 and 2021 for students to study Slovak language and culture through summer programs!
THANK YOU to our raffle sponsors (displayed on our home page), our private donors, as well as Slovak Ball attendees--your participation and generosity make a difference!
Scott is a PhD student in linguistics at Stanford University. He is currently writing his dissertation on the topic of compensatory lengthening, which involves one sound in a word being deleted, and another one growing longer to make up for it. Slovak reportedly displays an extremely rare and fascinating version of this phenomenon; a proper understanding of it could forever change how we view human sound processing more generally. Scott is excited to have the opportunity to take Slovak classes at the University of Pittsburgh this summer, so he can dive into this interesting but underappreciated language and discover how it really works!
Julie is a professional genealogist and former Latin teacher with a passion for languages. She lives with her husband in Burlington, Massachusetts, where they raised two daughters, and she is an instructor and content developer in the Genealogy Studies Program at Boston University's Center for Professional Education. The granddaughter of Slovak immigrants who settled in rural Michigan, Julie has had a lifelong interest in her Slovak heritage. In the late 1990s she began connecting with Slovak descendants of her grandparents' siblings and cousins, and in 2000 made the first of (so far!) four trips to Slovakia and fell in love with the country. In the future she would like to apply her language skills to in-depth archival research of her ancestral villages in the Kysuca river region.
Tim is a retired social studies teacher (having taught Western civilization, psychology, and a "Slovak word per day") and guidance counselor with 30 years of teaching experience. In 2001 Tim took a sabbatical year and taught at City University in Bratislava. Tim's passion for Slovak language and culture began at a very early age through interactions with his grandparents, three of which were native born eastern Slovaks who spoke in the Zemplín dialect, along with some Spiš. "I plan on spending the rest of my life learning, teaching, and using as much of the Slovak language as I can. Of course, I will continue to travel to Slovakia as often as possible. In doing so, I believe that this is my way of honoring my grandparents who made the courageous decision to come to the USA. They gave me, and all of us who are the product of immigrants, the wonderful life that I have had." Tim is a lifelong member of Jednota, the First Catholic Slovak Union.
Mary recently discovered her Slovak heritage and has been writing a novel about her great-great grandparents, who immigrated to the United States in 1881. She studies the Slovak language in the hopes that one day she can visit the village they came from. Indirectly, learning Slovak grammar has made her even better at teaching high school English in South Florida!
Andrew traces his heritage to the Spiš region of Slovakia. Currently in the second year of his aviation degree and commercial pilot license, he is a returning student at both the Slovak Summer Language Institute at the University of Pittsburgh (SLI) and Studia Academia Slovaca through Comenius University (SAS). He is also an alumnus of Pitt's Slovak Studies Program.
Outside of the classroom, Andrew is an active member of the Western PA Slovak Cultural Association and the Slovak-American Cultural Center. Andrew also volunteers as Docent Manager with the Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka. He is in the final stages of receiving the Slovak Living Abroad certification with his father and brother and hopes to act as a mentor and guide for others who wish to pursue the SLA certification.
Andrew is extremely grateful for SACC's continued support of his Slovak studies. His ambition is to combine these incredible language acquisition programs with his soon-to-be Slovak Living Abroad status to strengthen the already robust relationship between the people of the United States and Slovakia.