Archive for the 'Virginia Tech' Category

Sep 14 2012

Thank You for a successful 6th Annual “A Night with an Angel” event!

A huge thank you to all our incredible supporters for helping make our 6th Annual “A Night with an Angel” on September 10th, 2012 such an astounding success. We had over 250 attend the dinner and had our most successful silent auction to date! We hope you were inspired by all the work being completed by young people to make a difference. Emily’s giving spirit is still going strong through others.

Please check our photo gallery for photos from the event.

Below is the inspiring video shown at the dinner featuring our past and present scholarship and ambassador winners and how Emily’s legacy continues to inspire:

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Jan 21 2011

An Interview with Anna Lashley, 2009 Recipient of The Emily C. Specchio Memorial Scholarship

Anna Lashley was awarded The Emily C. Specchio Memorial Scholarship in 2009, studied abroad in Lugano, Switzerland, and graduated from Virginia Tech in 2010. She is currently spending five months volunteering at the Mercy Centre in Bangkok, Thailand. The Mercy Centre is a serene haven providing orphanages, education, HIV/AIDS care, food, and shelter to the poorest communities in Bangkok. We caught up with Anna to inverview her about her experience.

Q: How did you get involved with the Mercy Centre?

A: I was very lucky to get involved with the Mercy Centre. I have family and friends who have been to Bangkok and had interaction with Mercy in the past. During my senior year at Virginia Tech I was searching for a place to volunteer, a place where I could work with children in need, and preferably somewhere international. The Mercy Centre was suggested to me and after researching the foundation I realized it was the perfect opportunity.

Q: What are your volunteer responsibilities?

A: Wow, I will make a conscious effort to not let my answer to this question take up multiple pages of writing, which I think it easily could. Basically, as a volunteer at the Mercy Centre, my volunteer responsibilities consist of anything and everything.

This week for example, I worked at a couple different events that were put on both for and by the Mercy Centre. This involves me helping with planning and setting up prior to an event, organizing while at the event, answering any questions that people outside of Mercy may have, taking care of the children if they are also attending the event, and representing Mercy in a positive light. Usually these are a lot of fun, and have allowed me to meet amazing people from international organizations, from the UN, from other foundations, and with interests similar to mine.

I have also recently been put in charge of social media public relations, namely working with YouTube and Facebook. I have created some videos of the Mercy Centre and our children and have been trying to get the word out about our foundation in order to attract more donors and sponsors. (Be our Facebook Friend!)

I have assisted the communication office in creating brochures and pamphlets for different departments within the organization, and doing much of the email correspondence with English speaking organizations.

Of course the bulk of my work, and the most fun (!), is spent with children who live at Mercy or attend school in one of our slum kindergartens. I live in one of the Mercy Centre’s orphanages for young boys, and one main role of mine is to spend time with these boys, give them love, educate them, and help the house-moms in providing a safe, happy home for them. I eat with them, watch TV with them, play with them, take them to various activities, and act somewhere between an older sister and a mother figure to them.

Week day mornings I work in one of the kindergarten classrooms here at the Mercy Centre helping the teacher and attempting to teach basic English to the students (i.e. ABCs, 123s, days of the week, months of the year, colors, etc.). I spend the afternoon doing one-on-one teaching of all core subjects with one of our children who is being home-schooled, and then in the evenings I move  right into more teaching when I tutor our five children who received scholarships to an international school in Bangkok.

As you can see it’s a non-stop job, but I enjoy it every single day. Each week brings something new, and I am amazed at the opportunities and new experiences I have had from volunteering here.

Q: How have you changed as a person from when you first started?

A: Oh my gosh, I don’t even know if I am the same person anymore, it feels like everything has changed!

For one thing, my independence has skyrocketed. I mean, showing up to a completely foreign country, to live as one of two white people in a slum community where nobody speaks English, that’s pretty tough. I had nobody to cling to for help, I was on my own. There was a lot of frustration, loneliness, confusion, communication issues, you name it, but I got through it, and I worked to be accepted into the community. Now I feel like if I can get through this on my own, I can do anything, it’s a great feeling.

I am also a lot more appreciative. There are so many little things that I realize I am lucky to have grown up with that I never even thought about before. Hot water, clean clothes, a bed that doesn’t hurt to sleep in, meals that don’t include rice, living within an hour of my school, not having to share toys with 40 other children. The greatest part though, is that while I’ve come to appreciate these things more, I’ve also come to realize how unnecessary they are. I no longer think, worry, or complain about little things that used to be on my mind, I now understand how insignificant they are, and that the problems I thought I had really do not matter. There are so many more important things that people in the world have to worry about, life essentials such as where they’re going to sleep, what they’re going to eat, if they will receive an education or not. The issues I thought I had when I was back in the U.S. never compared to any of these.

A third major change in me is that I am a lot more learned than I was when I first arrived. I have not taken any classes, or received any instruction, but I have been privileged to an enormous amount of invaluable information. I have learned, from witnessing first-hand, about living in the slums of Thailand, about street children, child trafficking, prostitutes, AIDs, but I have also learned wonderful information about Thai culture, traditions, family life, and the inner-workings of the community. All of this knowledge has absolutely had an affect on me, and has made me a new person.

The other day one of the house-moms criticized me on not bending over while walking past adults who were sitting – as this is a known procedure done out of respect. As she was making the comment she explained that I am a Thai-woman now, and need to do as other Thais do. This is one of the greatest compliments I could have gotten. I have listened, observed, learned, and have taken everything in, and have been accepted into part of the Thai community.

So I guess a shorter way of answering your question would have been: so many things have changed about me that I have adapted into a new, very happy and content person.

Q: You hadn’t had the opportunity to travel much before studying abroad in Lugano. How much did traveling around Europe through the Lugano study abroad program at Virginia Tech play a part in your ambition to start your current position?

A: Honestly, going abroad to Lugano, and having the opportunity to travel around Europe played an absolutely essential part to me getting to where I am now. I had never been out of the country before going to Lugano, and as soon as I began traveling I realized I was never going to be able to stop.

America is a great country, but I think that so many people never really realize how big the world is, and how many things there are to see and learn outside of the it. I was given the chance to acknowledge that what I wanted more than anything was to travel the world and learn about the people, the cultures, and the major issues surrounding them. I don’t want to learn things from books in class, I want to see them, to feel them, to hear about them from the people who experienced them first hand.

Going to Lugano taught me this, and helped me to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I can truly say that I do not know if I would be sitting here, in my room in the orphanage in Bangkok, if I had never studied abroad.

Q: What you are doing now reminds us much of something Emily might have pursued post-college. Did your scholarship, interaction with the foundation, and learning Emily’s story help inspire you to travel even more and make a difference?

A: Absolutely! As I said before, going to Lugano was what made me realize how badly I wanted to travel more and learn more about the world, and that would not have been possible without being awarded the Emily C. Specchio Scholarship! However, I not only discovered my love of traveling through the scholarship, I also developed a new sense of purpose.

After hearing about the beauty and kindness Emily possessed, I was honored to be chosen as a recipient of the scholarship. Emily did so much for others in her short life and I really did feel inspired and as though it was my duty to do great good for people around the world with her in mind. I believe that Emily’s family, and everyone at the foundation, select scholarship recipients based on people they think Emily would be proud to have do work in her name, and I hope that I am living up to being one of these people.

Q: What are your career plans and goals after this international experience?

A: It’s hard to imagine leaving my life here and returning back to America to face the real world as a college graduate. I could easily just stay here and continue doing what I am doing, but I suppose I cannot work as an unpaid volunteer forever.

Following my time here in Bangkok I plan to attend law school and focus on international law and human rights. I hope that with the knowledge of the law I will be able to return to Thailand, or another country with similar human rights issues, and make a tangible difference in combating the problems head on. I believe that I primarily want to focus on children’s rights. There are children around the world who need protection, education, and people to fight for them, and I would like to aid in giving them these important things.

From what I’ve seen over the past many months, children in these dire situations really do want to improve their lives. They really want to be educated and do not want to follow in the footsteps of their parents, or whomever was responsible for them being where they are now. All they need is a chance, an opportunity to get off the street, get an education, have a normal life. My career goal, as ambitious as it is, is to give as many children this chance as I can.

Q; How can people learn more about the Mercy Centre and your experience abroad?

A: To learn more about the Mercy Centre people can visit the foundation’s website at . There is a lot of really great information on there about what the Mercy Centre does, pictures and stories about our children, and how people can sponsor children or donate money.

There are a lot of ways for people to help, and the children of Thailand need as much help as they can get. I encourage everyone to look into the information that the Mercy Centre has to offer, and to think about making a donation. I can attest to seeing first-hand that donations and sponsorships really do go straight to the children, and that the people at Mercy do everything they can to give these children a better life.

We wish Anna the best of luck through the rest of her volunteering and future endeavors! We invite you all to leave comments & well wishes below!

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Dec 31 2010

Happy New Year!

2010 was a fantastic and very productive year for the Emily C. Specchio Foundation thanks to your support! We truly have a lot to be thankful for.

With your help, the Emily C. Specchio Foundation has made major strides towards our mission of empowering youth to make a difference. Our accomplishments for this year include:

  • The selection of four Virginia Tech students with excellent records of leadership, scholarship, and community service to award the endowed Emily C. Specchio Memorial scholarship, bringing the total scholarships award since inception to 17!
  • Funding twelve young women entrepreneurs from around the world through Kiva no-interest microloans, bringing our total entrepreneurs supported to 24.
  • Donation of a new Panasonic laptop computer (courtesy of Jay Caldas) to the Mother Patern School of Health Sciences Library in Monrovia, Liberia for the new Masters Program in Nursing Education.
  • Helping Sister Prisca Nwogu, R.N., College of Saint Elizabeth Alum, in her humanitarian project to build a hospital in Evbuotubu Village, Nigeria, which will serve nearly 1 million people who currently have no nearby medical facilities.

Thank you all for your continuing support!! We hope to have an even bigger and more successful 2011. Happy New Year!

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Dec 14 2010

2011 Emily C. Specchio Memorial Scholarship Recipients

Published by admin under Scholarships,Virginia Tech

We proudly announce the 2011 recipients of the Emily C. Specchio Memorial Scholarship at Virginia Tech. This year we were able to fund the study abroad costs for FOUR students! All of the students will be studying abroad in Lugano, Switzerland this spring.

John Specchio and Kate Specchio Barrientos with the 2011 Scholarship Recipients
Brandon Collins

Brandon is a Virginia Tech Junior double majoring in accounting and marketing. He is a brother of Pi Kappa Phi, and is involved in community service supporting PUSH America, Relay for Life, and the Special Olympics.

Ashley Eliasoph

Ashley is a Virginia Tech Junior majoring in Psychology with a Marketing cognate, and a member of the Alpha Phi sorority. She has spent 7 straight summers volunteering on mission trips to Sneedville, Tennessee and is also been involved in Relay for Life, Greeks Giving Back, and Our Neighbor’s Child.

Emily Smalling

Emily is a Virginia Tech Junior honors student majoring in Communications with a minor in Political Science and a Marketing cognate. She is a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha fraternity. She traveled to Nicaragua over her last two spring breaks to work with orphans and refugees through the Nicaragua Orphan Fund.

Jillian Smith

Jillian is a Virginia Tech Junior honors student majoring in Marketing Management with a minor in Business Leadership, and a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority. She volunteers at Gilbert Linkous Elementary, tutors at Blacksburg Estates Mobile home park, Relay for Life, and Pamplin Ambassadors.

Ashley, Brandon, and Emily at Emily’s memorial bench located at the Virginia Tech Duckpond

For more photos of our trip to Virginia Tech to meet the recipients, check out our photo gallery here!

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Nov 30 2009

Announcing the Spring 2010 Emily C. Specchio Memorial Scholarship Awardees!

Published by admin under Scholarships,Virginia Tech

2010 winners-lowres

A big congratulations to this year’s selections for the Spring 2010 Emily C. Specchio Memorial Scholarship at Virginia Tech. Four winners were chosen this year from a very strong application pool, and each will receive a $1500 scholarship to help pay for their study abroad semester in the spring to Lugano, Switzerland.

Here are this year’s winners along with highlights from their resume/application:

  • Emily Glotz: Marketing/Management major, Leadership minor at Virginia Tech. Committee chair of Pamplin Leadership Development Team, Volunteer at Gilbert Linkous Elementary School, Business Horizons Volunteer, Winner of Pamplin College of Business Merit Scholarship
  • Nick Wells: Marketing Management major, International Business

    minor at Viginia Tech. Committee chair of G.E.R.M.A.N. Club of VPI, Relay for Life participant, Business Horizons Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity volunteer, Virginia Tech Orientation Leader.

  • Kelsey Vitori: Marketing Major, Global Business/Business Leadership Minor at Virginia Tech. Hokie Ambassador, Volunteer at Gilbert Linkous Elementary School, Virginia Tech Orientation Leader, Business Horizons Hospitality Chair, Organized fundraisers for Cardiac Care for Women.
  • Cory Williams: Communication Studies/Public Relations Major, Business Minor at Virginia Tech. Relay for Life Volunteer, organized fundraisers for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, volunteer at Gilbert Linkous Elementary School, Participant in the Virginia Tech Literacy Corp Pen Pal Program, Locks of Love donor, Philanthropy Board member for the Association for Women in Communications.


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Oct 19 2009

Stay Tuned…

... the winners of our first ever Emily C. Specchio Ambassador award will be announced THIS WEEK! We will be posting the winning project idea along with the bios of the winners right here on our home page.


Also of note:

  • SAVE THE DATE! The 4th Annual “A Night with an Angel” will be held on Monday May 3rd, 2010.
  • Check out our newly funded Kiva Entrepreneurs! We fund young women in their 20′s that are taking initiative to raise out of poverty around the world.
  • We are currently in the process of selecting this year’s Emily C. Specchio Memorial Scholarship recipients at Virginia Tech. We are pleased to report a very strong group of applicants again this year!
  • We have 2 new initiatives support mentorship in the pipelines. One will involve working with a Blacksburg Elementary School in which Emily once volunteered, and the other will involve sponsoring young women active in community service to attend a Women’s Leadership Conference.
  • Finally, a new scholarship will be added to our yearly support of youth making a difference. We have partnered up with the New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC) to fund an annual scholarship given to high school youth showing excellence in academics and community service.

We have been so busy this year adding new initiatives and supporting our established programs all in line with our mission of helping youth make a difference in the world.

Thank you for your continued support!!

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Dec 06 2008

Announcing the 2008-2009 Recipients of The Emily C. Specchio Memorial Scholarship!

Published by admin under Scholarships,Virginia Tech

This year’s recipients of The Emily C. Specchio Memorial Scholarship have been selected. The 2008-2009 applications were the most numerous and competitive yet. Congratulations to Virginia Tech students Anna Lashley, Christian Mason, and Caitlin Pecot!

Anna Lashley         Christian Mason            Catie Pecot

   Anna Lashley        Christian Mason            Caitlin Pecot


For more information on this scholarship and recipients, visit the VT Scholarship page

2008-2009 recipients

2007-2008 recipients

2006-2007 recipients

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Dec 06 2008

Full Endowment of Emily Carrigg Specchio Memorial Scholarship at Virginia Tech

Published by admin under Scholarships,Virginia Tech

The Emily C. Specchio Foundation is pleased to announce the full endowment of The Emily Carrigg Specchio Memorial Scholarship at Virginia Tech. This year we have reached the $100,000 mark which distinguishes the level of full endowment. A fully endowed scholarship will provide an entire year’s scholarship for a Virginia Tech student (or a semester of study for two students) starting in the 2009-2010 academic year.

A plaque commemorating this acheivement is permanently displayed in the Pamplin College of Business Building on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, VA. The Specchio family recently visited Blacksburg to view the plaque and receive a replica plaque at a black tie Pamplin scholarship event.

Family with Emily Plaque


Emily Plaque


This accomplishment would never have been possible if it wasn’t for the generous contributions of the supporters of The Emily C. Specchio Foundation!


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Jul 12 2008

Charities Supported

During 2007-2008, The Emily C. Specchio Foundation has been very active in supporting Emily’s Charities.Due to your generosity:

  • $20,000 has been donated to the now ENDOWED Emily Carrigg Specchio Memorial Scholarship at Virginia Tech (more information can be found on our VT Scholarship Page)
  • $4,000 has been donated to the Foundation for Peace, a charity dedicated to helping those in need in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Kenya.
  • $3,000 has been donated to The College of Saint Elizabeth to establish study abroad opportunities in Emily’s name.
  • $1,000 to the Reema J. Samaha VT Campus Security and Safety Fund. (Reema was a victim of the 4/16/07 shootings at Virginia Tech and younger sister of Emily’s close friend and PSP brother, Omar Samaha).
  • $500 to the Emily C. Specchio Outstanding Intern Dietetic Award at Montclair State University.
  • $1,000 to the Phi Sigma Pi Relay for Life team at Virginia Tech.

Thank you for supporting the Emily C. Specchio Foundation!

We look forward to doing and giving more in 2008-2009!

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Jul 09 2008

The Endowment of the Emily C. Specchio Memorial Scholarship

Published by admin under Scholarships,Virginia Tech

Family with Plaque

Thanks to your donations, The Emily Carrigg Specchio Memorial Scholarship at Virginia Tech is now endowed! It will now be given annually in perpetuity to Virginia Tech Student(s) whom embody Emily’s spirit and drive.

For more information about the scholarship and past/current awardees, please visit our VT Scholarship page.

Also, pictures of the dedication ceremony are in our Gallery Section.

Scholarship Plaque

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