Communications Scholarship Brings Warren, Ohio, Families Together

When assistant professor Stephanie Smith and her sister Karen Danes donated the Arnold and Dorothy Danes Global Communications scholarship, they set out to honor their parents, “first-generation Americans and true citizens of the world.” They had no idea the scholarship would land so close to home.

At the Communication Studies awards and scholarship reception April 15, Smith met the recipient of her scholarship, global communication junior Rachel Morrell, and her family. After chatting for a few minutes, they made a shocking discovery.

 “I met Rachel's parents, and I asked them if they lived in the area,” Smith said. “When they explained they were from Warren, Ohio, I mentioned I was, too. We quickly narrowed down that we actually live in Howland Township, and then in the same neighborhood, and then on the same very short street! Dr. Paul Haridakis witnessed this process of ‘discovery,’ and it was hilarious.”

“We couldn't believe it,” Morrell said. “Her address is only one number off from ours. We came to realize she lives about two houses down and across the street. I can see her house from my front porch. It was one of those unbelievable ‘small world’ experiences.”

Morrell is highly involved on campus; she is an active member of the College of Communication and Information Ambassadors, the Kent Communication Society and 4 the Love of Paws. Morrell also serves as a Supplemental Instruction leader, tutoring students in biology. As a global communication student, Morrell spent the summer of 2014 studying in Italy.

“A scholarship like this means far more than the remunerative value,” said Haridakis, former interim director of the School of Communication Studies. “It recognizes student achievement and illustrates how honored we are to recognize our students. While scholarships often bring the donor and recipient closer together, in this case it brought families together – as the donor, Professor Smith, and the recipient, Rachel Morrell, are neighbors.”

Morrell said is grateful to the Danes-Smith family for donating her scholarship, and she is looking forward to keeping in touch.

“Having a personal connection to the donor of my scholarship is very special,” Morrell said. “I'm glad I have the opportunity to talk to Professor Smith whenever I'm home visiting my parents and let her know that the scholarship is being put to very good use.”

Smith said it is “especially nice to help a neighbor,” but overall, it’s rewarding to help any student through the donation of scholarships.

“Scholarships are the most strategic investment an individual can make,” Smith said. “We are benefitting the education of another and affirming that we believe in the promise and potential of that student. We achieve great return on investment, because education is an investment that never depreciates. It's such an easy and gratifying way to give back. And it feels fantastic.” 

POSTED: Monday, August 24, 2015 - 4:19pm
UPDATED: Monday, August 24, 2015 - 4:19pm
Meghan Caprez