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Scholarship gifts help student forge new paths

meredith_wong1Meredith Wong didn’t know the late Effie Lu Fairchild, but as the inaugural Fairchild Scholar in Architecture and Allied Arts, she’s “humbled and honored” to become part of the storied UO professor’s legacy.

The award is funded with gifts by alumni and members of the university community. Her students, including Laura Sampson, say Fairchild changed their lives.

Like her scholarship’s namesake, Meredith is at the UO to forge a new path. For her master’s thesis, she’s pursuing a mix of psychology and the arts. This sets her apart from most of her classmates, who primarily have backgrounds in the arts.

Instead, she is looking at arts programs as a way to help young people develop confidence and resilience. Her research focuses on the impact of afterschool arts programs, and she hopes to use her UO training to create arts-based programs that promote positive youth development.

“My scholarship inspires me and encourages me to continue in this direction,” she said. “It’s such a bonus to receive this financial support on top of the mentorship opportunities that abound at this university.”

meredith_wong2A native of Houston, Texas, Meredith discovered her passion for art as a means to encourage positive youth development after earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology at DePaul University. She went on to research pediatric mental illnesses and led art-based afterschool programs in Chicago.

She chose the UO for graduate study because the breadth of our School of Architecture and Allied Arts allows her to pursue a master’s degree in arts management while earning a graduate certificate in nonprofit management.

But that wasn’t the only draw. “The UO’s student union has one of the few university-affiliated craft centers in the nation,” she said. “As someone interested in fiber arts as a hobby, such as sewing and leatherworking, this was a major attraction.”

Once here, Meredith signed on as the craft center’s marketing and development intern. “It was, by far, one of my favorite work environments and greatest learning experiences,” she said. “I was able to work with and learn from a wonderful group while the center transitioned and grew into its new facilities.”

Learn how you can make a gift that will change a student’s life. E-mail or call our office, 800-289-2354.

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