2013 Ambassadors

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Our fifth annual Emily C. Specchio Ambassador Grant was awarded to Marlee Newman, Ashvin
Sinnathamby, and Whitney Unis for their newly founded non-profit organization, “The Taaluma
Project”, a name that means “education” in Swahili. Marlee, Ashvin, and Whitney were also our 2012
Emily C. Specchio Memorial Scholarship recipients and were inspired to start this non-profit during their
study abroad program. The Taaluma Project is made up of 10 recent graduates from Virginia Tech who
were inspired by their travels to Kenya to make a difference to students in need at the Bambakofi
Academy, a boarding school in Malindi, Kenya. Their mission is to support motivated and academically
accomplished underprivileged students in the coastal region of Kenya to attend and excel at the
secondary and university level. Their organization truly believes that every child, no matter where they
are born, how much money they have, or what their dreams are should have access to education
The ambassador grant awards $1,000 plus matches funds 2:1 (up to $2,500) raised through speaking
engagements to peers and community organizations. The Taaluma project earned the maximum award
of $6,000 plus the additional $2,500 they raised on their own which totals $8,500 for the project.

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