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Scholarship to help students from Haiti announced

  • Peter Wampler announces a scholarship for students from Haiti.

Posted on January 13, 2011

On the one-year anniversary of an earthquake that devastated Haiti, Grand Valley continued its efforts to help the people of that country.

Officials announced the Empowering Haiti through Education Fund, a scholarship that will help support rising stars from Haitian high schools to attend Grand Valley. The announcement was made January 12 at Chez Olga, an Eastown restaurant that specializes in Haitian food.

The idea behind the scholarship sprang from a discussion several years ago between Peter Wampler, associate professor of geology, and Mark Schaub, executive director of the Padnos International Center. Wampler has traveled to Haiti since 2007 to conduct research on water quality. Wampler said he hopes that the students who will eventually be scholarship recipients return to Haiti to teach the next generation of students.

"This is something to really get excited about," Wampler said. "We can transform Haiti one student at a time."
When he first traveled to Haiti, Wampler said he expected to find people who were defeated and hopeless. The opposite proved true. "Young Haitians would walk with us through town to learn English," he said.

Officials from Rays of Hope for Haiti, a nonprofit organization based in Grand Rapids, are helping to identify Haitian students who could be scholarship recipients. To donate to the scholarship fund visit; for more information about the scholarship, visit

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