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PHLF Awards Four More Scholarships: 60 Winners Since 1999!

Landmarks Scholarship Reception 2015

During a private reception on June 17 at a historic Woodland Road home, David Brashear, Chair of the Landmarks Scholarship Committee, introduced PHLF’s 2015 Scholarship recipients (front row, left to right): Brennan S. McCann, Jilliam F. Root, Deborah Monti, and Meghan J. Kokoski. Mr. Brashear is pictured here (top right) with the four winners and with nine former recipients. Each 2015 winner will receive a $6,000 college scholarship for book and tuition expenses, payable over four years.

Since 1999, PHLF has awarded 60 scholarships to a remarkable group of high-achieving students in Allegheny County who care deeply about the Pittsburgh region: 27 of those winners graduated from Pittsburgh Public Schools and 33 graduated from other schools within Allegheny County.

Here are brief profiles on the four newest scholarship recipients:

  • Brennan S. McCann, from South Fayette High School, will be studying Aerospace Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Brennan’s scholarship essay fondly reflected on many afternoons spent wandering the halls of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. He hopes to “pursue science and discovery with the same stateliness and childish fervor” that seem to echo through the exhibits of the museum.
  • Jilliam F. Root, from The Neighborhood Academy, will be studying Cell and Molecular Biology at West Chester University. Jilliam’s scholarship essay described Frick Park as a safe haven defined by a “kind atmosphere, beautiful scenery and friendly faces.” Whether she was practicing basketball with friends or seeking a quiet space to think, Jilliam remembers that the park played a significant role in her childhood.
  • Deborah Monti, from Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, will be studying English and Political Science at Yale University. The Braddock Carnegie Library holds much more than books for Deborah, who volunteers there every Saturday to assist with a children’s clay class. For Deborah, the “grandeur and old time magnificence” of the library has a single purpose: “To bring people together and to foster creation and collaboration.”
  • Meghan J. Kokoski, from Springdale Junior-Senior High School, will be studying Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her scholarship essay, Meghan explained the influence of the Rachel Carson Homestead on her personal dream of becoming a chemical engineer. She referenced Rachel Carson’s famous words from Silent Spring: “In nature, nothing exists alone.” Meghan plans to keep these words in mind as she aspires to “preserve the natural world.”

Lead contributions from David and Janet Brashear, the Gailliot Family Foundation, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, McSwigan Family Foundation, and Howard & Nell E. Miller Foundation made it possible for PHLF to increase its scholarship award in 2015 to $6,000 (payable over four years).

“Based on their essay and application,” said Mr. Brashear, “we know that each recipient cares about Pittsburgh and is likely to stay connected to the city and region no matter where he/she lives or works. Since applicants are asked to write about a place in Allegheny County that is important to them and that has affected them personally, we are connecting with the next generation of future leaders who share our values and realize that place matters.”

“Sixty-six people applied to PHLF’s Scholarship Program this year and many of the applicants were deserving of the scholarship award,” said Louise Sturgess, Executive Director of PHLF. “The essays were inspiring and the students had made outstanding contributions to their communities,” she added. Applicants wrote about “Woodville,” the Burtner House, Manchester Bidwell Corporation, the Benedum Center, Steel Valley, Dilworth School, Point State Park, North Park, South Park, Gus and Yia Yia’s in Allegheny Commons, and Allegheny Cemetery, among many other places.

“Our goal is to increase our Scholarship Fund through contributions from others so we can award more scholarships and increase the scholarship amount,” said Mr. Brashear. To contribute, visit: or contact Mary Lu Denny (; 412-471-5808, ext. 527).

The Landmarks Scholarship Program is the culmination of PHLF’s educational programs for thousands of students (pre K-12) and the beginning of its programs for adults. It gives Allegheny County students an incentive to excel in school, become involved in their communities, and express their commitment to this region in a meaningful way.

PHLF’s Scholarship Program is offered each year. Applications for the 2015-16 school year will be available in January 2016. Applicants must:

  • live in Allegheny County;
  • be a high school senior who has been accepted to a college or university;
  • have a cumulative GPA at the end of the first semester senior year of 3.25 or greater;
  • have a significant interest in local history, architecture, and/or landscape design; and
  • write an essay describing a place in Allegheny County that is important to them; complete an application; and submit two letters of recommendation (one must be from a community representative).
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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