Scholarships: Lending a Helping Hand

Alumnae sisters create a scholarship for students studying at the London Center.     by Greg Ryan ’08

When it comes to stellar IC siblings, there aren’t many as successful as Jan Studin ’78 and Cindi Studin Berger ’83. Studin is vice president and publisher for Better Homes and Gardens, a Meredith Corporation magazine, and Berger is co-CEO of PMK/HBH Public Relations, whose clients include Billy Crystal, Barbara Walters, and the Dixie Chicks.

The sisters weren’t always in such powerful positions, and they don’t forget it. Each, in her first days as a junior in Ithaca’s London program, grappled with the daunting chore of flat-hunting in one of the world’s biggest metropolises. “It was a most extraordinary experience,” Berger recalls, “being thrown into a city and having to fend for yourself.”

Their London experiences helped establish a foundation for their exceptional careers, the sisters say. That’s why their contribution to IC’s campaign was a scholarship for students studying at the London Center. Each semester the scholarship will help an outstanding student with financial need.

The idea for the scholarship first came to Berger when her family stayed in a hotel around the corner from the IC London Center during a vacation. She was taking pictures of the center with her son and daughter when she had an epiphany. “I said, ‘You know what? This is what I want to set up a scholarship for,’ ” she says, “so someone can have the opportunity I had.”

Back stateside, she called her sister. Studin loved the idea and immediately joined in. She’d been among the first group of students to study in the center, and it was a pivotal period. “It lit in me the fire to travel” she says.” That fire is still burning — she recently went trekking through South America.

The sisters hope to help another generation of IC students find success through their London experience — flat-hunting and all.