Students in the International Media Class traveled to Spain and Portugal in 2015.
For the past decade, Point Park students have had opportunities to explore media and culture in countries around the world thanks to financial assistance provided through the John Fallon Travel Scholarship Fund.
Established in memory of the late Dr. John Fallon, a popular dentist and the husband of School of Communication professor Helen Fallon, the scholarship fund has made it possible for students with limited financial resources to participate in the annual International Media class and trip abroad at the end of the spring semester, as well as media trips to U.S. cities such as Washington, D.C. and New York City. More than $40,000 in international travel grants, most averaging about $1,000 each, have been provided to students since the first class and trip (to London) in 2008.
Open to Possibilities
Since then, more than 150 students have enrolled in the International Media class and traveled to such destinations as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal and many more. Students meet regularly during the semester to learn about media, government, politics, economics and culture, then spend two weeks visiting media organizations and sightseeing in destination countries at the end of the course. School of Communication faculty members such as Fallon, Bob O’Gara, David Fabilli and Jan Getz (now retired) have served as faculty guides on the trips.
For students, the experience “opens their eyes to the possibilities -- personally and professionally,” says Fallon. The class also exposes students to international perceptions of America and its citizens and is important in an era in which most news organizations have reduced foreign coverage, she adds. For participants such as Jessica Federkeil, a journalism major who traveled to Amsterdam, Bruges and London in 2016, it was her first time traveling abroad and “an amazing experience. It's so important to go out and see different cultures and learn new ideas, especially as a college student," said Federkeil. "I wouldn't have been able to take this trip if it wasn't for this class and financial assistance from the John Fallon Travel Scholarship."
April 17 Fundraising Celebration
The Fallon Travel Fund is supported by sales of note cards and an annual fundraiser, to be held on April 17 at Wigle Whiskey, a craft distillery in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. For a small admission charge, participants can enjoy entertainment (provided by Pioneer Records recording artists Chase and the Barons in 2016 and again in 2017), food trucks, and a good time. Admission proceeds and a portion of purchases support the travel fund. Read more about the event and how to register, or contact Helen Fallon at email@example.com.
Text by Cheryl Valyo
Photo by Courtney Giles, photojournalism major
The Point is the magazine of Point Park University