Pitt Scholars & Stewards, James B. Tafel Endowed Student Support Fund

Issue Date: 
September 21, 2009

The Gift of Opportunity

Mauricio Achata Mauricio Achata
Lee EveryLee Every

Since 2007, the James B. Tafel Endowed Student Support Fund has given students in the University of Pittsburgh’s College of Business Administration and the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business a welcome gift: the opportunity to take unpaid internships without having to worry about financial burdens.

James B. Tafel graduated from Pitt in 1950 with a business degree.

Mauricio Achata (LAW, MBA ’08) was awarded the scholarship in the summer of 2008 after he had decided to pursue an independent study with a pharmaceutical company in North Carolina. He said the experience gave him more flexibility in developing an individualized plan for what he wanted to study, research, and learn once he returned to Pitt to finish his dual degree.

“I learned things that I wouldn’t have been able to learn in a classroom environment,” says Achata. “The scholarship was helpful because after the independent study, I constantly tried to learn things on my own and prepare myself more for the future.”

Achata is working now in a Pittsburgh law firm and says he hopes to become more involved in advising clients in business transactions and turnaround situations.

Lee Every (CBA ’09), who graduated from Pitt with a dual major in marketing and finance, was awarded the Tafel Scholarship the summer after his freshman year.

“As a freshman, I didn’t think I had a chance of getting an internship, but I began to become interested in the nonprofit world, and I wanted to become involved in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Pittsburgh,” says Every. “I was offered a position as the foundation’s event planner, but I had no financial means of supporting myself while doing the internship. Through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Tafel, I was able to receive an endowment that allowed me to take the position,” he said.

Lee said the internship helped him gain real-world experience, build his résumé, and boost his confidence, which in turn helped him to obtain three subsequent internships. At his final internship with Dick’s Sporting Goods, he was offered a full-time position, but he turned it down in hopes of pursuing a job in higher education when the economy picks up.

“I have always believed that determining what your career goals don’t include is just as important as determining your goals in the first place,” he said.

Lee said that the Tafel Scholarship inspired him to obtain a variety of experiences throughout college, helping him to determine a clearer direction for his future.