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Walden News // Dec 04, 2012

Walden University Awards $50,000 to Its 2012 Scholars of Change

Videos demonstrate how Walden students and alumni help effect positive social change around the world

Minneapolis—December 4, 2012— Walden University has announced the winners of its 2012 Scholars of Change video contest, an initiative that demonstrates how members of the Walden community put their knowledge to use for the greater good and live the university’s mission of effecting positive social change. The five winners each received $7,500 plus a $2,500 donation to the charity of their choice.

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 communities and around the globe. This year the public was invited to vote for their favorite videos through Walden’s Facebook page at

“These five Scholars of Change are representative of thousands of Walden students and graduates who lead and contribute to positive global social change every day,” said Dr. Cynthia G. Baum, president of Walden University. “We are tremendously proud of the impact our community is having and continue to be impressed by the inspirational videos created for the Scholars of Change initiative year after year.”

The 2012 Scholars of Change and their designated charities are:

  • Nnenna Franciamore, a PhD in Education student from Bronx, N.Y., founded Solid Foundations Preschool to offer licensed daycare services and Solid Foundations for Healthy Families to offer free workshops to help parents balance family and work commitments; her charity donation will go to BRITE Initiative.
  • Kimberly Portanova-Feibus ’12, an MS in Mental Health Counseling graduate from Clarks Summit, Pa., volunteers at Marley’s Mission, an equine-assisted therapy program for children to help them heal after being subjected to physical and sexual abuse. Her goal is to expand the outreach to children’s parents to create a holistic response; her charity donation will go to Marley’s Mission.
  • Linda Sheppard, a PhD in Psychology student from Hillsboro, Ore., has led medical teams to Haiti to disperse hygiene packs in clinics, volunteered in Guatemala to make education accessible for local children and coordinated fishing trips for schoolchildren in Portland, Ore. Her charity donation will go to The Chance to Dream.
  • Ranin Soliman, an MS in Health Informatics student from Giza, Egypt, designed databases at the Egypt Cancer Network to enhance patient safety, reduce medical errors and help save children with cancer through research; her charity donation will go to the Egypt Cancer Network.
  • Jodi Vermaas, an MS in Mental Health Counseling student from Clermont, Fla., established the nonprofit Priority One Worldwide to stabilize the day-to-day living conditions of orphans in India by providing safe living environments and free mental health services; her charity donation will go to her nonprofit.

The Scholars of Change videos and other honorable mentions 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 145 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 60 campus-based and online universities in 29 countries.

Walden offers more than 75 degree programs with more than 345 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,