Clark U. student awarded scholarship from Phi Beta Kappa-Boston

February 24, 2016

Clark University junior Alicja Gancarz has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship from the Phi Beta Kappa Association of Boston (PBK-Boston), a local affiliate of the nation's oldest and most distinguished collegiate honorary society, in recognition of her strong academic record and for her exemplary essay describing how she embodies the society's motto, "Love of learning is the guide of life."

Alicja Gancarz - Clark University

Alicja Gancarz ’17

Katie Strunk, president of PBK-Boston, said Gancarz's essay "embodied the ideals of Phi Beta Kappa: letting one's love of learning guide both academic and personal pursuit."

"I am both overjoyed and so grateful to receive this financial support," wrote Gancarz on receiving news of her award. Gancarz plans to use her award to fund her Clark education and bring her one step closer to her goal of becoming a nurse practitioner.

This is the third award Gancarz has received in recent years to fund her studies. In 2014, she received a stipend from the Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Fund for Scholars of Holocaust Studies to fund her internship at Facing History and Ourselves in Brookline. In the spring of 2015 she was awarded a Steinbrecher Fellowship to support her research project "Moje Dwie Babcie" (the English translation of which is "My Two Grandmothers") which involved traveling to Poland to interview her two grandmothers and their friends about life during World War II, the Holocaust, and the Communist era.

Valerie Sperling, professor of political science and department chair, advised Gancarz's Steinbrecher project.

"Alicja is a very strong student with a passion for learning," said Professor Sperling, who said the student's project was "a resounding success."

"[Gancarz] possesses the right combination of warmth, openness, and empathy — as well as significant knowledge about the subject matter that she and her interviewees discussed — to generate rich interview material that contributes in a meaningful way to our knowledge about that difficult portion of Polish history," she wrote.

Professor Sperling supported Gancarz's application for the PBK Boston Scholarship, and described her in her letter of recommendation as "an open and engaged student, smart, focused, and dedicated — and also friendly, respectful, warm and always eager to learn."

Gancarz is a member of the Class of 2017. She majors in political science with a concentration in Law & Society and Holocaust & Genocide Studies.

Founded in 1887 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Clark University is a liberal arts-based research university addressing social and human imperatives on a global scale. Nationally renowned as a college that changes lives, Clark is emerging as a transformative force in higher education today. LEEP (Liberal Education and Effective Practice) is Clark's pioneering model of education that combines a robust liberal arts curriculum with life-changing world and workplace experiences. Clark's faculty and students work across boundaries to develop solutions to complex challenges in the natural sciences, psychology, geography, management, urban education, Holocaust and genocide studies, environmental studies, and international development and social change. The Clark educational experience embodies the University's motto: Challenge convention. Change our world.

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