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PHLF Awards Five Scholarships to College-Bound Students

Pittsburgh, PA…On June 16, during a luncheon celebration, the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF) will award scholarships to five high-achieving college-bound students who are involved in their communities and value Pittsburgh’s history, architecture, and landscape design. PHLF received 47 applications this year and was able to award five scholarships, thanks to the continuing support of the Brashear Family Named Fund at PHLF and generous donations from others.

“Each year the Landmarks Scholarship Committee looks forward to reviewing all the applications,” said David Brashear, founder and chair of PHLF’s Scholarship Committee. “This program helps us connect with young people who share our values and who we believe will contribute to Pittsburgh during their lifetime.” The five scholarship recipients are:

Stephen R. Karas of Pittsburgh Schenley High School;
Victoria N. Lewis of Woodland Hills High School;
Anna M. Murnane of Woodland Hills High School;
Candice L. Thornton of Sto-Rox Sr./Jr. High School; and
Eric C. Wise of South Fayette High School.

Each scholarship, for book and tuition expenses only, has a maximum value of $4,000, and is made payable to the recipient’s college/university over a four-year period. “The Landmarks Scholarship Program is helping our organization build relationships with capable young people who value Pittsburgh’s history, architecture, and landscape design,” said Louise Sturgess, Executive Director of PHLF. “It is the culmination of our educational programs for thousands of students (K-12) in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County and gives students an incentive to excel in school, become involved in their communities, and explore their city in a meaningful way.”

Since 1999, PHLF has granted 40 scholarships to a remarkable group of young people. Nineteen students are Pittsburgh Public School graduates and 21 are graduates from other schools within Allegheny County. Twenty winners have already graduated from various colleges/universities, and 14 of those people still have a home base in Pittsburgh: several work as architects and engineers, one teaches at CMU, one works at UPMC, and another inspects bridges.

The Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation Scholarship Program is offered each year. Applications for the 2010-11 school year will be available in Jan. 2011. Applicants must:

  • live in Allegheny County;
  • be a high school senior who has been accepted to a college or university;
  • have a cumulative Grade Point Average at the end of the first semester senior year
  • of 3.25 or greater; and
  • write an essay on a certain topic, complete an application, and submit two letters of recommendation.

2010 Landmarks Scholarship Recipients: Student Profiles

Stephen R. Karas

A graduate of Pittsburgh Schenley High School, Stephen Karas will be attending Penn State University to study Mechanical Engineering.

Stephen is an Eagle Scout and the recipient of the Kiwanis Club of Sheraden scholarship. At Schenley, he helped his Think-A-Thon team win an Overall Grand Champions award in 2009. He also was a member of the 2009 Soccer City Championship team and a member of the Volleyball City Championship teams in 2007, 2008, and 2009. Stephen has worked as a lifeguard for the City of Pittsburgh and as a soccer coach for the Special Olympics; he is a driver for Meals on Wheels and a member of his church choir.

In his scholarship essay Stephen wrote that “the memories that I have of the Ascension Church [in Sheraden] are powerful ones and will stay with me. This building . . . still touches the lives of the people in the community . . . I believe that the architectural history of the building is very representative of Pittsburgh as a whole. It is a humble structure, whose constituents are friendly and hardworking individuals. Its history is an interesting one and important lessons can be learned from it. Through hard work and change, beautiful things can come forth.”

Victoria N. Lewis

A graduate of Woodland Hills High School, Victoria Lewis will be attending Howard University to study Architecture.  Victoria is a member of the National Honor Society and was recognized by State Representative Paul Costa for excellence in academics, leadership, and community service. At Woodland Hills, she was a member of the high school track and field team. Her Gymkhana Gymnastics team won the 2008 and 2009 State Gymnastics Championships. As a member of Urban Youth Action, Inc., Victoria has participated in annual Thanksgiving food drives and community clean-ups. She is a member of Deliverance Baptist Church and has worked at BNY Mellon and Gwen’s Girls, Inc.

In her scholarship essay Victoria describes her sense of awe over downtown Pittsburgh: “When I took the Pittsburgh city tour with my class in grade school I learned the importance of the designs on the Smithfield Street Bridge and the meaning of many inconspicuous designs on the buildings throughout downtown. After the tour I looked at my city with pride. . . .

“I made a decision to study architecture at Howard University. After talking with the dean of the school of architecture, imagine my surprise when I learned that all domestic travel to study architecture in the college is done in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. . . .

“Pittsburgh is unique because it has been successful in preserving the beauty of many historical structures while weaving them together with modern architectural designs.”

Anna M. Murnane

Also a graduate of Woodland Hills High School, Anna Murnane will be attending Syracuse University to study Architecture.

Anna is a member of the National Honor Society and was on the Woodland Hills varsity cross country team. She has performed with the Woodland Hills Orchestra, Marching Band, and Fine Fiddlers of Pittsburgh, where she also has volunteered. Anna has worked as a camp counselor and has attended pre-college art/architecture programs at Carnegie Mellon and Drexel universities.

In her scholarship essay Anna wrote: “Pittsburgh is my birthplace, so it is a city I have taken for granted for most of my life. In my sophomore year of high school I had the opportunity . . . to . . . participate in the Architecture Apprenticeship offered by the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. My interest was driven by my desire to learn more about a career that would combine my artistic talents with my interest in math and physics. What I did not expect was that it would open my eyes to the beauty and history offered by Pittsburgh, and provide a direction and vision for my future.”

Candice L. Thornton

A graduate of Sto-Rox Sr./Jr. High School, Candice Thornton will be attending The College of Wooster to study Chemistry and Archaeology.

Candice was a Student Ambassador for Sto-Rox High School and a member of the marching band, concert band, and chorus. She was manager of the volleyball team, editor-in-chief of the newspaper, peer tutor, and a team leader for Environmental Journalism, among other activities. Candice also was a member of the National Honor Society and Student Government. She has volunteered for Meals on Wheels, the McKees Rocks Community Development Group, and at a nursing home.

In her scholarship essay Candice wrote, “As a third grader I rode the Duquesne Incline to Mt. Washington for a field trip. When I saw the view of Pittsburgh from the overlook I was completely astounded, so much so that I leaned too far over the edge and lost my glasses. My mind was rattled by the sight of the Pittsburgh Golden Triangle and the convergence of the rivers. . . . Pittsburgh’s history and architecture are a part of my heritage. Growing up in the Pittsburgh region has given me much to be proud of and imbued in me many values such as: perseverance, diligence, character, pride, and a strong sense of self. . . .

“My grandfather was a craftsman . . .

“My father was an iron worker . . .

“I am a student of Pittsburgh’s history. It teaches me life lessons and values about hard work and determination. I am an admirer of Pittsburgh’s architecture. . . . To me the landscape, history, and architecture of Pittsburgh are my heritage.”

Eric C. Wise

A graduate of South Fayette High School, Eric Wise will be attending Carnegie Mellon University to study Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering.

Eric was South Fayette’s Valedictorian, a Westinghouse Science Honors Institute exam winner, and an AP Scholar with Distinction. He was selected as a gold medalist from among the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s “Outstanding Young Citizens” and was included in NEXT Magazine’s top 25 young men in Pennsylvania for service to school and community. Eric performed in South Fayette’s Marching and Concert Bands, and participated in the Future Business Leaders of America and in the National Economics Challenge, among many other activities.

In his scholarship essay Eric wrote: “Schenley Park in Oakland contains the components that contribute to making a place significant. It is rich in landscape design with its many trails, ice skating rink, and golf course. Its layout highlights nearby architectural treasures like Phipps Conservatory and the many museums of Oakland. These gems of culture, history, science, and the arts are what make Pittsburgh a treasure for me and all of its citizens.”


Founded in 1964, the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation is a non-profit membership organization working to: identify and save historically-significant places; revitalize historic neighborhoods, towns, and urban areas; preserve historic farms and historic designed landscapes; and educate people about the Pittsburgh region’s rich architectural heritage.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633