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Walden News // Sep 15, 2011

Walden University Scholars of Change Create Positive Social Change Worldwide

Minneapolis—September 15, 2011— Walden University has announced the winners of its 2011 Scholars of Change video contest, which features 12 Walden students, alumni and future students demonstrating how they are putting the university’s mission of effecting positive social change into action. Current students and alumni winners received $2,500, and future students were awarded $2,500 scholarships to Walden. All winners also received $2,500 each to donate to their favorite charities.

The Scholars of Change program began in 2009 when Walden invited students and alumni to submit short videos showing how they were applying their Walden education and experiences to bring about positive social change in their local communities and around the globe. This is the first year Walden expanded eligibility to include select international countries as well as future students.

“The Scholars of Change initiative demonstrates how members of the Walden community can put their knowledge to use for the greater good,” said Jonathan Kaplan, president of Walden University. “Through their videos, these individuals inspire and empower others to make a difference.”

The 2011 Scholars of Change and their designated charities are:

  • Gary Bickford, a PhD in Health Services graduate from Knoxville, Tenn., credits Walden with helping him to establish a medical clinic; his charity donation will go to Remote Area Medical.
  • Dorothy Garcia, a Doctor of Education (EdD) student from Altadena, Calif., built an arts and education center for women and children in the South African township of Kalicha; her charity donation will go to Art Aids Art.
  • Sonia Pamela Jimenez, a future MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership student from Distrito Federal, Mexico, runs a center where people lead and attend free activities; her charity donation will go to Fundación Interamericana de Integración y Desarrollo Social A.C.
  • Sarah Leavenworth, a Master of Public Administration (MPA) student from Arroyo Grande, Calif., analyzes health outcomes of patients without medical insurance; her charity donation will go to Community Health Centers of the Central Coast Inc.
  • Jeff Lubsen, an MS in Mental Health Counseling student from Kansas City, Kan., works to improve healthcare for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and their families; his charity donation will go to LGBT-Affirmative Therapists Guild of Greater Kansas City.
  • Catherine Milejczak, a PhD in Public Health graduate from Columbia, S.C., implemented a dental hygiene program for youth in a remote tribe in Tanzania; her charity donation will go to S.C. Synod, ELCA-TANZANIA.
  • Debra Pinion, an MS in Education graduate from Canton, Ga., works with a literacy program that sends children free books with a newsletter for parents; her charity donation will go to the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy.
  • Deborah Raines, an Education Specialist (EdS) in Educational Technology graduate from Boca Raton, Fla., created a simulation training for parents of premature babies; her charity donation will go to the School of Nursing, Virginia Commonwealth University.
  • Jennifer Sharma, a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) student from North Lauderdale, Fla., helps underprivileged children access education in the Philippines; her charity donation will go to Youth Ministry Keepsake Association.
  • Rhianna Weir, a future MS in Mental Health Counseling student from Beloit, Wis., plans to use her degree to improve the mental healthcare of truck drivers; her charity donation will go to St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund.
  • Richard Wildman, a future Doctor of Education (EdD) student from George Town, Grand Cayman, led a program for high school students to improve their school and grounds; his charity donation will go to International Medical Corps.
  • Billy Yarbrough, a future PhD in Psychology student from Dublin, Ga., helps youth through several social programs and nonprofit organizations; his charity donation will go to RAFT Inc.

The Scholars of Change videos are available for viewing online at

About Walden University
For more than 40 years, Walden University has supported working professionals in achieving their academic goals and making a greater impact in their professions and their communities. Today, more than 46,500 students from all 50 states and more than 120 countries are pursuing their bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees online at Walden. The university provides students with an engaging educational experience that connects them with expert faculty and peers around the world. Walden is the flagship online university in the Laureate International Universities network—a global network of more than 55 campus-based and online universities in 28 countries.

Walden offers more than 60 degree programs with more than 300 specializations and concentrations. Areas of study include health sciences, counseling, human services, management, psychology, education, public health, nursing, public administration and information technology. For more information, visit Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association,