McCormack Scholars, Class of 2011
McCormack Scholar, Class of 2011
Hometown: Seward, Alaska
High School: Seward High School
Major: Theatre Minor: Legal Studies
Possible Career: Directing, Entertainment Law or Theatre Journalism
Trent was raised in the small town of Chariton, Iowa. When he was ten years old, his family moved north to the even smaller town of Seward, Alaska, located on the Kenai Peninsula. In high school, Trent maintained high academic standards for himself and maintained several positions of leadership.
Trent took advantage of Manhattanville’s close proximity to New York City to pursue his interest in theatre. This allowed him to be exposed to a wide variety of theatre from Broadway musicals to experimental downtown productions.
The summer after his sophomore year, Trent used his McCormack grant to travel to Australia where he lived with a local family and interned as Assistant Stage Manager and Rehearsal Observer on a production of The Little Dog Laughed at Ensemble Theatre in Kirribilli, a small area north of Sydney just across the Sydney Harbor Bridge.
The summer after his junior year, he used his opportunity grant to live in New York City where he interned for Clubbed Thumb and Partial Comfort Productions, two small non-profit downtown theatre companies where he made many professional connections and gained valuable experience backstage, in the rehearsal room, and in administration.
For his “semester abroad”, Trent studied at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s National Theatre Institute in Waterford, Connecticut. This rigorous 14-week conservatory training program gave him experience working with professionals and taking classes in Acting, Directing, Playwriting, Design, and Movement, among many other various disciplines such as Biomechanics and Le Coq training. This program included two weeks of study in Russia at the St. Petersburg State Theatre Arts Academy, the largest and oldest performing arts academy in Europe. There he studied performance under Russian masters in the birthplace of modern acting technique.
Trent was also an active member of his theatre department on campus, having taken classes in stagecraft, lighting, and stage management in addition to dramatic literature and performance art. He performed in the school’s productions of Twelfth Night, Into the Woods, Lysistrata, Julius Caesar, and Candide, in addition to a number of student-written and student-directed productions. For his senior thesis project, he took on the challenge of adapting and directing Eugene Ionesco's absurdist classic, The Chairs, for which he received departmental honors.
Upon his graduation from Manhattanville, Trent moved to Park Slope, Brooklyn. He is currently employed in Manhattan, where he plans to become involved with various up-and-coming theatre companies.
Elizabeth J. McCormack Scholar, Class of 2011
Hometown: Katy, Texas
High School: Cinco Ranch High School
Major: International Studies with a self-designed concentration in Justice & Development
Minor: Spanish & Creative Writing
Possible Career: Non-profit work focusing on social and environmental justice issues
Janelle was born and raised in Texas, but always had a burning desire to learn more about the world. In the summer before her senior year of high school, she participated in a month long study abroad program in Ireland. This was her first experience abroad and sparked her love of traveling. This urge brought her to Manhattanville, where she identified with the school’s commitment to educating students about their connection to the local and the global community.
Since freshman year, Janelle has been involved with community service at Manhattanville, including helping to build a home in Bridgeport, CT with Habitat For Humanity and as an ESL Student Teacher for both Semantico and Women for Afghan Women. She also served as a Student Coordinator for the Children’s Hope Foundation, working with children in the Bronx who are living with HIV/AIDS. She is also a member of the Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action.
Janelle enjoys many creative mediums, such as photography and dance, but she is especially passionate about writing. At Manhattanville, she founded and served as editor for the student travel magazine, Get Lost. The magazine, released in November and April, contained student reflections on international experiences and offered resources to connect students with opportunities for volunteering and studying abroad. This experience provided practical knowledge about creating a publication, but she most enjoyed collaborating with other members and witnessing the imagination and diversity of Manhattanville’s students.
Janelle has used her McCormack grant to participate in many diverse experiences abroad. During the winter break of her freshman year, she traveled to El Salvador, living in a rural village in the Chalatenango province. This community was involved in anti-mining campaigns and women’s empowerment. Janelle had the opportunity to volunteer at the many women-run initiatives, igniting her passion to learn more about women’s issues in the United States and abroad. During the summer of 2008, she volunteered through BUNAC in Cape Town, South Africa, living with a host family in the Cape Flats for six weeks and teaching Grade 4 students Math, Reading, Writing and other subjects at the Lotus River Primary School. While there, Janelle explored first-hand the devastating effects of Apartheid, as well as the struggle for reconciliation. In the summer of 2009, Janelle took part in an intensive Spanish language program in Costa Rica, learning more about the culture and environment. She also experienced daily life and practiced her Spanish by living with a host family. Janelle spent her junior year traveling and studying in Tanzania, India, New Zealand and Mexico with the International Honors Program, “Rethinking Globalization.” This experience truly shaped her life and fundamentally impacted the way she views her place in the world and her commitment to social justice.
This fall, Janelle traveled to Boulder, Colorado to work on a small, organic farm. Janelle is passionate about sustainable farming and food justice and she enjoys getting her hands dirty and the physical labor of farming. She hopes to one day have an organic farm that will sustain her and the community she lives in through healthy food production and outreach education programs. While in Boulder, she also gained certification in Wilderness First Aid through the Wilderness Medicine Institute.
In January, Janelle will be embarking on another study abroad experience, but this time as a Fellow on the International Honors Program, “Health and Community,” traveling to Brazil, Viet Nam and South Africa. As the Fellow, she will be responsible for student health and safety, as well as many logistical aspects of the program. She is very excited to be a support system for students who are undergoing a journey of learning and transformation.
Janelle also hopes to use her love of writing to tell stories and bring attention to social justice issues in the United States and abroad. Her other interests include feminism, international experiences for students and community empowerment, especially of underrepresented populations.
Elizabeth J. McCormack Scholar, Class of 2011
Home Town: White Plains, NY
High School: White Plains High School, White Plains, NY
Major: Psychology Minor: World Religions
Possible Career: Human Resources, Counseling
Michelle Rojas was born in Colombia, South America and lived there until an earthquake changed her family’s life. The family relocated in White Plains, NY when Michelle entered middle school. Although Spanish she knew no English when she arrived, she was able to take honors and AP courses all four years in high school. In addition she was a member of the track and field teams, the Italian club and the National Honor Society while maintaining a job outside of school.
When Michelle entered Manhattanville, she planned on majoring in biology and becoming a premed student. However after taking Psychology, she decided to change her major. She continued her interest in sports and was on both the women’s NCAA Division III Cross Country and Track and Field Teams. She also participated in Manhattanville’s annual breast cancer walk and the Midnight Run which takes food and clothing to the homeless in NYC. She had a summer internship at Mount Pleasant Cottage School in Pleasantville, NY in 2010 and was a Marketing Research intern with Katon Partners in Rye, NY during spring term 2010.
The summer after her sophomore year Michelle used McCormack opportunity funds to travel to Germany to take an intensive language course. She spent fall semester of her junior year at Westminster University in London where she assisted her psychology professor in conducting research to determine anxiety levels in rats after various doses of cocaine. The findings will soon be published in a professional psychology journal. Michelle also took advantage of her time in Great Britain to visit many areas of the country.
After graduating in 2011, Michelle had an internship in the Human Resources office of a local company. In mid-August she began her job as Assistant to the Director of Benefits at Emigrant Savings Bank in New York City.
McCormack Scholar Class of 2011
High School: Cornwall Central; Cornwall, NY
Home Town: Cornwall, NY
Major: BA: History with a concentration in Social Studies Minor: Political Science
Even when he was quite young, Ezra took an interest in the world. Born to an American mother and an Israeli father, Ezra learned Hebrew as soon as he could speak. He travels frequently to Israel where much of his family resides and has been fortunate enough to spend time in Costa Rica, Panama, Egypt, Italy, France, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. In the future, Ezra hopes to visit the American National Parks, building his portfolio of landscape photographs.
While at Manhattanville College, Ezra was elected President of both his Freshman and Junior Classes. During his sophomore year he served as VP of Academics for Manhattanville's Student Government Association, representing the student body on issues pertaining to education and academics. He also made the Dean's list every semester. During his senior year, Ezra served as President of Manhattanville’s History Club.
Ezra is pursuing a career in education and has been accepted into Manhattanville's five year combined BA/MA in Education program. He hopes to teach middle or high school social studies. Over the past summer, Ezra used his McCormack opportunity grant to attend intensive Spanish language school in Playa Samara, Costa Rica. Ezra has also been fortunate enough to participate in a National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) expedition in Olympic National Park, Washington during the Summer of 2010. During the Winter of 2009, Ezra backpacked throughout Italy and Paris.
Regarding the McCormack Scholarship, Ezra states, “I can’t think of a bigger blessing that has come into my life. It’s literally been the equivalent of winning the lottery. The McCormack Scholars and everyone involved with the foundation have helped me in more ways than I can express. From the personal guidance to the incredible travel opportunities to the relief from the burden of debt, I can’t help but think that it’s truly the best scholarship out there.”