PEF Passport Scholars Share Summer Experiences

Friday, October 18, 2013

Eleven 11th grade girls shared their summer enrichment experiences as PEF Passport Scholars with members of the community on Thursday evening.  The young women constructed engaging visual displays and acted as docents during a reception to honor their achievements.


“Passport Scholars represent the wonderful potential of Hamilton County high school students.

  These young women went through a rigorous application process last fall, including interviews with a panel of community members.  You could see how much they have grown from those first meetings just by talking with them during the Showcase. We’re so proud of our 2013 Scholars!” said Stacy Lightfoot, Vice President of College and Career Success and Passport Scholars Coordinator. 


Passport Scholars provides guidance and funding for a small number of girls to participate in prestigious summer experiences each year.  Passport Scholars enter the program with little exposure to the larger world, and after participating return more confident, capable and open-minded. With the opportunity to travel, meet new people and see new worlds, Scholars are better equipped to make a difference in their own lives and communities.

Cassandra McAllister of East Hamilton High said, “I think people can tell a difference in me in the fact that I talk a lot more and I’m not nearly as shy as I used to be. When I went to Smith I didn’t know anyone, so the only way I could make friends was to talk. So that’s what I did. Now I can talk to almost anyone, where I normally would have just kept quiet.”


The summer experience lays a foundation upon which to build for college and for life.  In addition to funding the summer programs, Passport Scholars helps the participating girls set and achieve long-term goals and offers one-on-one mentoring and college counseling.

Passport Scholars began in 2001 as an independent scholarship program and is now a partnership between PEF, the Hamilton County Department of Education, and the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga with support from the Weldon F. Osborne Foundation and Kitty & Hacker Caldwell. The following is a list of 2013 PEF Passport Scholars:


LaDeja Thirkill, Hamilton County High
Explore-A-College Program - Earlham College  - Richmond, IN

Hailey Larkin, Center for Creative Arts
Robert Cook Honors College - Indiana University of Pennsylvania 

Cassandra McAllister, East Hamilton High
Smith Science and Engineering -  Smith College -  Northampton, MA 

Shania Douglas, East Ridge High 
SuperScholar EXCEL Program -  Xavier University of Louisiana - New Orleans, LA

Joanna Hernandez, East Ridge High
Summer Theater Camp -  Texas State University - San Marcos, TX

Mikaela Nunley, Hixson High
Summer Scholars Academy -  Texas Lutheran University - Seguin, TX 

Angelia Umbreit, The Howard School
Explore-A-College Program - Earlham College -  Richmond, IN

Davida Jones, Ooltewah High
Explore-A-College Program - Earlham College - Richmond, IN

Kailey Bowman, Red Bank High
Jump Start Program in Criminology-  Xavier University - Cincinnati, OH

Katie Sneed, Red Bank High
Acadia Institute of Oceanography -  Seal Harbor, ME

Sheyenne Williams, Soddy Daisy High
Adventures in Veterinary Medicine - Tufts University - Grafon, MA

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