UNITED ACADEMICS SCHOLARSHIPS

 

Each year, United Academics (UA), the faculty union of the University of Vermont, awards several scholarships to students pursuing social and economic justice. All application material must be submitted through the online application form. Only complete applications received by the deadline will be reviewed by the UA Scholarship Committee.

 Questions? Contact UA Scholarship Committee Chair, Dr. Vijay Kanagala, Vijay.Kanagala@uvm.edu

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All Scholarships Flyer

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JEFFREY BRACE SCHOLARSHIP

United Academics awards several $500 Jeffrey Brace Scholarships to students with an active commitment to community service, especially in pursuit of social or economic justice. The scholarship is named in honor of Jeffrey Brace, an early 19th-century Black Vermonter, former slave and activist. Scholarship recipients will be selected based on demonstrated involvement in community service, especially activities related to social and/or economic justice, in keeping with United Academics’ values.

All currently enrolled UVM students are eligible to apply for the Jeffrey Brace Scholarship.

To apply for a Brace Scholarship, applicant must submit:

·        an essay (no more than 750 words) that outlines one’s interest and involvement in community service and social and/or economic justice, and

·        a recommendation letter from a faculty or community member who's familiar with applicant's involvement with social and/or economic justice activities. 

 

Note: All UVM students who apply for the Backus or Shiman scholarships will automatically

be considered for a Brace scholarship.

 

About JEFFREY BRACE

Born in West Africa, Jeffrey Brace was captured in 1758 by slave traders and eventually sold as a slave in Connecticut. Brace enlisted in the Revolutionary Army in 1777 and fought for American liberty for five years before being honorably discharged and, only then, freed from slavery. Following the war, like many veterans, Brace and his wife moved to the new State of Vermont to take up farming. Virulent racism drove him and his family from their first homestead in Poultney to St. Albans where Brace established a new farm. Brace's struggles for personal and social justice are detailed in one of the earliest biographies of a Black American still in existence. The Special Collections of the University of Vermont contains one of the few copies of this important and rare book, The Blind African Slave.

Jeffrey Brace did not seek out struggles for social justice but neither did he fear them. Although stolen from Africa, he fought for national independence. Although a veteran, a farmer, and a Vermonter, Brace had to continually fight for his rights as a citizen in the country he had helped create. He fought this fight in words, using the courts and the press.

 

LINDA BACKUS MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP

The Linda Backus Memorial Scholarship of $1,000 is presented to an undergraduate student for outstanding community service, especially in pursuit of social or economic justice. The scholarship is named in honor of Linda Backus, former UVM professor of education, committed union organizer, and second president of United Academics.

To be eligible, applicant must have:

·        completed two years at a higher education institution (not necessarily in Vermont), and

·        an immediate family member—parent, step-parent, guardian, sibling, stepsibling—who is a member of any union in   Vermont.

To apply for the Backus Scholarship, applicant must submit:

·        an essay (no more than 750 words) that describes involvement in community service, especially as related to social and/or economic justice causes;

·        documentation of immediate family member's union affiliation in Vermont (such as a photocopy or scan of a union card);

·        a recommendation letter from a faculty or community member who's familiar with applicant's involvement with social and/or economic justice activities. 

 

Note: All UVM students who apply for the Backus Scholarship will automatically be considered for a Jeffrey Brace Scholarship.

About LINDA BACKUS: SPECIAL EDUCATOR, ADVOCATE, ORGANIZER

Linda Backus had a distinguished career as a special education teacher, administrator, consultant, and scholar. She began her teaching career at the Spring Grove (PA) Area High School, continuing her pedagogic journey at the Pathway School for children with behavior disorders in Norristown where she found her true calling in the field of special education. She moved to Herkimer County, New York where she created treatment programs for individuals with developmental disabilities and helped to establish the New York State Association of Community Residence Directors. Following graduate studies in special education, she became a professor in the Community and Preventative Medicine Department at New York Medical College.

In 1994, she joined the faculty of the University of Vermont and served as a project associate at the UVM Center on Disability. She was a primary organizer of the UVM faculty union, serving as its first vice president, then president, and was instrumental in the drafting of a constitution and the negotiations leading to its first contract. In 2004, the American Association of University Professors awarded her the Georgina Smith Award. She was active in the Ward V Neighborhood Planning Assembly and served on the boards of both United Professions of Vermont and the Champlain Valley Labor Council (AFL-CIO). At the First Congregational Church in Burlington she taught Sunday school and had chaired the church’s mission committee. Her death, at the age of 54, ended the life of an individual who was deeply committed through her educational, labor, political, and religious activities to improving individual lives and the community at large.

 

DAVID SHIMAN SCHOLARSHIP

The David Shiman Scholarship of $1,500 will be presented to a UVM senior with an outstanding and sustained record of community service, especially in pursuit of social or economic justice. The scholarship is named in honor of David Shiman, longtime professor of education at UVM and past president of United Academics.

To be eligible, applicant must have:

·        senior standing at the University of Vermont;

·        a minimum CGPA of 3.0.

To apply for the Shiman Scholarship, applicant must submit:

·        an essay (no more than 1000 words) that describes involvement in community service, especially as related to social and/or economic justice causes;

·        documentation of applicant’s CGPA (such as a screenshot or scan of transcript);

·        a recommendation letter from a faculty or community member who's familiar with applicant's involvement with social and/or economic justice activities. 

 

Note: All students who apply for the Shiman Scholarship will automatically be considered for a Jeffrey Brace Scholarship.

 

About DAVID SHIMAN, PROFESSOR OF EDUCATION

David Shiman began at UVM in 1971 as an Assistant Professor in Education where he committed himself to working for social justice through his professional work. However, his social justice activism began well before then. His consciousness about race received an awakening in the 1950s with the arrival of Jackie Robinson on the roster of his beloved Brooklyn Dodgers. It was nurtured by his early experiences teaching in post-colonial Tanzania in the early 1960s. While pursuing doctoral study on African education at UCLA in the mid-1960s, he was active in the anti-Vietnam War movement, campaigned for fair housing legislation, and taught in an adult vocational training center in Watts after the 1966 riots.

Over the years, David has taught courses and conducted workshops on prejudice reduction and human rights education with Palestinian activists on the West Bank, former Solidarity unionists in Poland, teachers and lawyers in South Africa, human rights activists and teachers in Guyana, and with many groups across the United States. He established (with David Conrad) the Center for World Education within the College of Education and Social Services in 1974 and for nearly forty years has offered courses focusing on global perspectives education, peace and justice, and multicultural education.

David has spent over five years advancing social justice goals through his work in South Africa, China, Costa Rica, Tanzania, and Ghana. He served on Amnesty International USA's National Board of Directors in the mid-1980s and helped launch its national human rights education program. He has written extensively on cultural diversity and human rights, publishing books entitled The Prejudice Book, Teaching Human Rights, Economic and Social Justice: A Human Rights Perspective, and Human Rights: Here and Now (co-author).

More recently, he was active in the successful unionization drive for United Academics at UVM in 2000-2002. He then served as union president from 2004 to 2013, during which time he was chief negotiator for four contracts and a bargaining team member for two additional contracts. In 2013, he was appointed chair of the Board of Directors for the Peace and Justice Center in Burlington. He retired from UVM after 43 years in 2014. He has two daughters, Kathleen and Sarah, and lives with his wife, Elise Guyette, in South Burlington, VT.

 

Scholarship Committee:

Prudence Doherty (Libraries), 2014-2017

Vijay Kanagala (Leadership and Development Sciences, CESS), 2014-2017, Chair

Holly-Lynn Busier (Leadership and Development Sciences, CESS), 2014-2017

Mary Mendoza (History, CAS), 2016-2019

Brandon Ogbunugafor (Biology, CAS), 2016-2019

Bindu Panikkar (Environmental Studies, Rubenstein), 2016-2019