The Vira I. Heinz Program for Women in Global Leadership
2013 Heiskell Award Honorable Mention: Study Abroad
Nomination submitted by: Lawrence Feick, Senior Director of International Programs
Program Overview: The Vira I. Heinz Program for Women in Global Leadership (VIH) prepares women for tomorrow's global challenges by combining study abroad, leadership development, and community service. The two-year program created and administered by the University of Pittsburgh specifically targets a diverse mix of women from 14 different institutions across Pennsylvania. The participants receive scholarship support to defray the costs of an international experience.
The program recognizes that a key challenge to internationalizing a campus is diversifying the students studying abroad. Even though women outnumber men in study abroad participation, subgroups of women remain underrepresented. The Vira I. Heinz (VIH) program is exclusively open to women of sophomore and junior status with no previous international experience. It also specifically targets the following underrepresented subgroups: women who are GLBTQQ, disabled, a racial or ethnic minority, and those with financial need. VIH uses the study abroad experience, training retreats, mentoring, and a community engagement project as tools to develop critical leadership skills for participants who stand to make impactful contributions on the local and global stage.
According to Patricia E. Beeson, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor at the University of Pittsburgh, “The program is shaping an annual cohort of young women whose decisions and actions as future leaders will have a far-reaching impact locally and potentially globally.”