Fostering Equality and Opportunity in Atlanta—and Around the World
Pioneers, as Lady Astor once said, are "picturesque figures," but often lonely ones. Angie Allen knew the feeling as she tried to make her way in the investment field in the late 1970s, when there were few opportunities for women to advance or develop their skills. There was, however, Georgia State.
"I really felt that I needed to get my MBA to distinguish my career," says Angie, the daughter of Italian immigrants and a first-generation student. "If it hadn't been for this public university that was located downtown, with such flexible schedules to accommodate people who were working full time, I never could've gotten my degree."
Education Is Opportunity
Recognizing the power of education to "level the playing field"—for genders, classes, and even entire nations—Angie and her husband, Sam, have dedicated themselves to creating similar opportunities for today's students.
Together, they have been loyal supporters of both the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (including the school's chapter of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, which won a national award at a conference in January) and the Robinson College of Business, where they created the Zera-Allen Scholarship in 1998. That scholarship has helped first-generation students from the U.S. and 16 other countries achieve their dreams of earning business degrees.
Those international students, Sam says, "are seeing the best of the U.S. here. And it's not a stretch to think of Georgia State as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy. That may sound a little grandiose, but if these students go back with a favorable opinion of the American people and our educational system, think of what a difference that could make."
The next step: supporting a brand-new course called Women Lead: Paving the Way for Women to Lead. Slated to begin at the Robinson College of Business in spring 2015, the course's goal is to "develop leadership skills with an emphasis on strategic career development," Angie says.
"Our hope is that female students in this program will have a huge leg up in achieving leadership positions in a global market."
If the track record of the Allens' other endeavors is any indication, the students in Women Lead will accomplish exactly that. Witnessing those triumphs firsthand, Sam says, has been its own reward.
"These are young people who want to succeed," he says. "With GSU's help in personalizing our interactions with them, we've come to understand their hopes and challenges, and even share their successes with them. So, in effect, we become the beneficiaries as well."
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