New Scholarship for Clarke Students


The AVIE Award is the Activism and Values-Informed Education Scholarship for full-time undergraduate students. This award is a new scholarship created by Jenifer Westphal who is an alumnae and Clarke University Trustee. The winners of this award are Hayden Degross (spirituality), Rashaud Colbert (professional preparedness), Kylee Allen (thinking), Mariah Pellino (communication), Samantha Wiederholt and Desaray Bordner (global awareness and social responsibility). The students were awarded on September 15th, 2020.

Clarke University campus

The AVIE Award works alongside the Clarke Compass outcomes. The five Clarke Compass outcomes are communication, professional preparedness, thinking, global awareness and social responsibility, and spirituality. During the fall and spring semesters, students will partner with the AVIE Compass Mentor. Each mentor specializes in one of the outcome requirements of Compass. Deann Petitgout, the coordinator for the AVIE Award, said, “Everyone will also come together as a team to use the framework of the Clarke Compass and the Common Good to develop a plan of action for Clarke Community engagement in addressing these systemic challenges of racism and oppression in our community.”

The application process for students consisted of a brief video and a written reflection. The video included a self-introduction and explaining how receiving the scholarship will impact the student and his/her success at Clarke and beyond. Students were also asked to reflect on their experiences or desired experiences with community engagement. In the written portion, students will reflect on what Compass outcome they would like to focus their activism, why they are called to engage in this experience, and how they hope to take action and expand their values-informed education in addressing systematic racism and oppression in the community.

Petitgout expressed, “This is a new and exciting experience for Clarke and the students who are participating. I am proud to see Clarke provide this opportunity, which truly demonstrates a commitment to the common good, Clarke’s mission, and the core values.”

Every week, student and mentor are supposed to meet up and talk about the different aspects of racism and oppression in the community. Then, everyone from each compass outcome will come together to do a project. This is the first year for the scholarship and is over the fall and spring semester.

Mural completed in Downtown Dubuque that Pellino assisted with.

Emily Goodmann, communication compass outcome mentor, meets with Mariah Pellino to discuss the communication outcome. Pellino gave some insight on what this scholarship means to her and the community. Pellino states, “It’s important for me to feel educated as an individual that doesn’t necessarily understand the circumstances that other minorities face.” It is important to her that she has her eyes open and is in communication with other members of the project. Additionally, Pellino wants to understand where things might need to grow or be more open on Clarke’s Campus. Pellino’s goal is to, “Educate others on standing up and promoting other individuals from minorities or help other people be aware of their own privileges and prejudices towards other people.”

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