Vaccine guidance for international students and scholars

Business-Scholarships [View Image]

International students earn Business Services Scholarships

Contact: Nicol Tinsley
Global Education Office

Richmond, VA (September 1, 2021) — Two Virginia Commonwealth University international students were recently awarded International Student Scholarships from VCU Business Services in recognition of their contributions to the university. Doctoral students Vivian Phyo, who is majoring in pharmacy, and Lindai Xie, majoring in counselor education, both earned the scholarships as part of the Business Services Scholarships awarded to VCU students recognizing their contributions to the school.

“The Business Services Scholarship assists international students by providing a totally new and different source of funding that represents the students who contribute to enhancing VCU as well as the institution's commitment to supporting our international efforts,” said Dr. Reuban Rodriguez, associate vice provost and dean of Student Affairs.

VCU Department of Business Services sponsors scholarships through agreements with business partners to support and enhance scholarship opportunities for all VCU students. In addition to the scholarships given to international students, there are scholarships that focus on several other categories such as community engagement, graduate and professional studies, health sciences, and the advancement of women,.

Students applying for the International Student Scholarship describe their involvement in organizations or activities that focus specifically on contributions the students make to VCU through scholarship, service and leadership.

Vivian Phyo
Home country: China
Level: Doctoral student
Degree: Pharmacy and certificate in aging studies

Vivian Phyo [View Image]Vivian Phyo is an international graduate student from China in the VCU School of Pharmacy dual degree program, pursuing a Pharm.D. and certificate in aging studies.

Phyo applied for the International Student Scholarship to assist her parents financially as she finishes her last year at VCU.

"As an international student, I am ineligible for federal financial aid or loans. Therefore, I rely mostly on my parents to cover the tuition fees and the majority of my living expenses in the U.S.," she said. "I applied to this scholarship in hopes that I may be able to alleviate part of my parents’ financial burden."

For Phyo, the scholarship is confirmation of the hard work she has put into her studies, and recognition of the potential she has to contribute to society.

"The scholarship, for me, is not just about the money; it tells me that I am seen as having potential for the future of our society, which motivates me further to continue to work hard toward my goals," she said.

"Even though my parents have never placed pressure on my education before, I am always working as hard as I can, whether it is academic performance, volunteering experiences, research skills or part-time job experiences," she said. “This scholarship will not only reduce the financial burden on my parents but also allow me to concentrate on my short-term goal by being able to divert more time into classwork, research and volunteering opportunities.”

Hard work and dedication to her studies have been rewarded with an invitation to be inducted into Rho Chi, a pharmacy honor society that recognizes students exhibiting academic excellence and achievement along with professional character and responsibility.

"Receiving this scholarship is a great honor for me and also implies that the past three years of hard work have really paid off," she said.

In addition, Phyo has been involved in many professional organizations that have helped her gain experience and give back to VCU. She serves on the executive committee of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association, Inter Health Professional Alliance, and the School of Pharmacy’s online student news outlet.

Throughout the year, Phyo regularly volunteered at Bon Secours, HOPE Pharmacy and Kroger Pharmacy, administering COVID-19 vaccines to the healthcare workers and the public, which gave her great pride.

“I felt proud and honored to participate in the COVID-19 vaccine administration effort across the Commonwealth,” she said.


Lindai Xie
Home country: China
Level: Doctoral student
Degree: Counseling education

Lindai Xie [View Image]Lindai Xie, after obtaining a graduate degree in August 2021, will begin VCU’s doctoral program in counselor education and supervision this fall. She expressed the importance of the scholarship award, noting the financial assistance it will provide to her and her family and the recognition of her hard work it offers.

“It means a lot to me. It is an award that can directly decrease my concerns about finance,” she said. “It is also a recognition for my past two years of work. More importantly, this scholarship is an encouragement for my future study, volunteering and work at VCU.”

Xie has been involved in many VCU campus organizations as a graduate student, giving back to the university to assist other international students in various ways. As an intern with the Global Education Office, she assisted with translating English Learning Program publications into Mandarin and coordinating student activities. In addition, Xie volunteered in a program that helped VCU students apply to graduate school and non-VCU students apply to VCU’s programs, as well as volunteered in a discussion hour organized by VCU university counseling services.

Xie is well on the way to achieving the goals she has set in life, and the scholarship will assist her achieve future endeavors.

“My aspirations are about research and teaching, so my short-term goal is to get my Ph.D., publish and present my work, and gain more teaching and research-related experiences,” she said.

“For my long-term goals, I would like to be a faculty member in a higher educational setting,” she said.

“I will continue what I am doing right now in the future, working and studying in the educational field, promoting students' wellness and mental health, and supporting and advocating for international students.”

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