Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship
Allison C. Bienkowski, a Johns Hopkins University senior from Bronx, N.Y., has been selected as one of the 43 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Scholars this year.
Foundation scholars, who must have ties to Virginia, Maryland or the District of Columbia, receive up to $50,000 per year to complete their graduate or professional degrees as part of the foundation's Graduate Scholarship Program. Bienkowski, who majored in history of art, received her bachelor's degree in the history of art on Thursday, May 22, and plans to pursue a doctorate in art history at Duke University. She is one of three Johns Hopkins University students chosen for the award.
"Art is something that makes many people uncomfortable, particularly in stately museums, because they think they are not capable of understanding it," said Bienkowski, 23. "I want to work to ensure that this feeling is lessened."
Motivated by her past work with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she intends to pursue a career in museum education. At the museum, Bienkowski served as an apprentice, intern and teaching assistant in the education department, where she often met students from disadvantaged schools.
Bienkowski was diagnosed with anorexia when she was 15 and spent the next five years in recovery. Feeling that she was given a "second chance to make things right for a reason," Bienkowski has devoted much of her time in college to community service projects. She founded the program Heads Up!, an after-school tutorial with the goal of increasing English literacy in refugee youth. She has also worked with the Red Cross and Summerbridge International, where she taught reading and writing to eighth-grade students.
Bienkowski intends to pursue a career in museum education and would like to continue the work she did at the Met with inner city high school and middle school students. She is the daughter of Robert and Cathey Bienkowski of Clive, Iowa, and graduated from the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation identifies young people nationwide who have shown unique overall excellence, both in academic endeavors and in extracurricular activities. The purpose of the foundation is to reward young men and women for unusual intelligence, application, deportment, and character. The second class of recipients reflects a wide diversity of interests, all aiming to be the best in their fields.
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is a private, independent foundation established by its namesake to help young people of exceptional promise reach their full potential. Cooke was a businessman, sportsman, and philanthropist who owned the Toronto Maple Leaf baseball club, the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, and the Washington Redskins football team. He also owned the Chrysler Building in New York City, newspapers, magazines, radio stations and cable television stations. When Cooke died in 1997, he left most of his fortune to the foundation, which has more than $500 million in assets.
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