The Susan M. Hicks Memorial Fund, created by Susan’s family, friends, and colleagues, seeks to celebrate and continue her passion for international education, by providing support to University of Pittsburgh students studying abroad in Eastern Europe or the countries of the former Soviet Union.
For Susan, studying abroad was an opportunity to continue and expand upon a rigorous course of study. Susan felt that during study abroad, students should study language, conduct research, and immerse themselves fully in the place, the culture, and the community they’re visiting. As a cultural anthropologist, Susan was committed to this immersive approach as a core part of her scholarly methodology. And as an advisor at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Russian and East European Studies, Susan set this same very high bar for students.
Susan advised students as they researched study abroad programs in Russia, Montenegro, Poland, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Ukraine, Slovenia, and other countries. She was a true mentor to her students, guiding them through the application process and helping them secure funding from prestigious granting organizations such as the Fulbright Program, Boren Scholarships, and Vira I. Heinz Program for Women in Global Leadership… and she would jump up and down for joy with them, when they learned they had won funding!
Susan also continued to develop new study abroad opportunities. In 2015, for example, Susan created a graduate-level course on Global Energy that gave students the opportunity to compare U.S., Eastern European, and Russian policies and politics on shale gas drilling by bringing the group to Washington DC, Moscow, Russia, and Sophia, Bulgaria. For Susan, travel and immersive cultural experiences were a core part of educating students on politics, history, and public policy.
How You Can Help:
The Center for Russian and East European Studies is committed to the belief that study abroad helps young people become more capable professionals, engaged citizens, and thoughtful and compassionate individuals. Unfortunately, many of our students face significant financial hurdles in making their dream to study abroad come true.
Feel free to browse our giving levels, which give examples of the difference various amounts can make in the life of a study abroad student:
- $50- A weekly visit to the local food markets to try out burgeoning language skills and regional cuisine!
- $100- A local mobile phone plan, public transportation passes, meetings at a coffee shop, gifts for hosts, a sweater to wear in the archives...these are the practical things required to meet, talk, and engage with local resources.
- $250- All work and no play? No way! This extra pocket money for a train ticket to a nearby town and room in the student hostel ensures more discovery, more friends, and more adventure!
- $500- A donation at this level will allow a student to cover all fees for her first passport and necessary visas.
- $1,000- Take flight! There are only so many ways to get across the Atlantic and the better part of a continent!
Please contribute in Susan’s memory, so we can continue to inspire students to explore the world and make this goal a reality.