Sophomores receive scholarships for altruism

Sophomores Christy Tatara and Jessica Strong are the 2011 recipients of the John Weidner Awards for Altruism.

Strong, a science, technology and society major, received the $1,250 Butler University John Weidner Endowed Scholarship for Altruism.

Tatara, a biology and Spanish major, is the recipient of the $1,500 Rotary Club of Indianapolis John Weidner Award for Altruism.

Recipients of the awards are recognized for their acts of altruism and embodiment of John Weidner, who saved the lives of about 1,000 drowning airmen fleeing Nazi persecution during World War II.

The Butler chapter of the John Weidner Foundation, along with the Student Sociology Foundation, awards the scholarships.  Members of the foundation review scholarship applications and vote on recipients.

Scholarships have been awarded since 2006 and are open to all students and majors.

“The scholarships are meant to recognize students engaged in the community, and encourage them to strive to make a positive impact on the community and world, ” Kenneth Colburn, faculty adviser for the SSF, said.

Tatara volunteers as a Spanish translator at a free clinic in Carmel, Ind., and at a pharmacy in Fort Wayne, Ind.

She also volunteers at the Boys and Girls club and elementary schools with kids learning English as a second language, while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

For the last two years, Tatara has worked with the Timmy Foundation, which strives to improve medical conditions in other countries.

“I think the people I meet and the relationships that form are what keep me volunteering,” Tatara said. “I strive to put a smile on their faces, and they always put a smile on mine.”

Strong volunteers at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and local soup kitchens.

She was chosen as a leader for Butler’s Ambassadors of Change, and spent a week in Mexico rebuilding a church.

Tatara and Strong were recognized at the annual sociology department banquet April 6.