New American Scholarship for Women of Excellence donors. Left to right: Ivana Djokovic Wendling, Maja Lacevic, Nevena Pehar, Sanja Djokovic and Mirna Pehar.
In honor of Internaitonal Students Day, we are highlighting a group of five young, international women who established a scholarship for new American refugees at the University of South Florida.
Displaced by the devastating Bosnian War, their families fled to Germany, Russia and eventually the United States in search of a new start. Each of the girls thrived in their new countries - mastering the languages, adapting to the different cultures and applying themsleves in school. War may have forced them from their homes, but could never drive out their love of learning.
Years later, the young women would meet for the first time through the immigrant community and the University of South Florida. Linked by a common past, they decided to band together to create the New American Scholarship for Women of Excellence through USF's Women in Leadership and Philanthropy.
Their scholarship will provide a financial helping hand to a standout recipient from a refugee or immigrant background – mirroring the merit-based achievements of the five women, who excelled in class and extra-curricular activities and showed strong collegiate promise.