Three Pitt Honors College Juniors Receive 2010 Humanity in Action Fellowships

Issue Date: 
April 5, 2010
Jonas X. CaballeroJonas X. Caballero
Katie M. ManbachiKatie M. Manbachi
Stephen J. PetranyStephen J. Petrany

Three University of Pittsburgh Honors College students have been selected to receive 2010 Humanity in Action (HIA) summer fellowships. Jonas X. Caballero, a junior majoring in international affairs and area studies in Pitt’s University Center for International Studies and media and professional communication in Pitt’s College of General Studies; Katie M. Manbachi, a junior majoring in political science and international relations in the School of Arts and Sciences; and Stephen J. Petrany, a junior majoring in economics and political science in Arts and Sciences, will participate in the European Programs in Lyon, France; Copenhagen;  and Amsterdam, respectively.

This is the fifth consecutive year that Pitt has competed successfully in the HIA Fellowship program.

The HIA European Programs—based in Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Poland—focus on European issues of historical and contemporary importance, among them challenges from immigration, the integration of underrepresented groups, and the formation of international human rights doctrines. The HIA American Program, based in New York City, explores how Americans understand, practice, and manage diversity, including the role of the public and private sectors in addressing social problems.

“The HIA Fellowships are designed to promote and facilitate an ongoing, international dialogue about the challenges that democratic societies encounter as they experience new degrees and forms of diversity,” said James V. Maher, Pitt provost and senior vice chancellor. “For the fifth straight year, Pitt students have shown that they are prepared to be engaged in this conversation. Jonas Caballero, Katie Manbachi, and Stephen Petrany are excellent additions to this group of humanists.”

Caballero, who is from Pittsburgh, is working toward a BA in media and professional communication and a Bachelor of Philosophy degree in international and area studies in Pitt’s Honors College. The title of his BPhil thesis is The Impact of Catastrophic Events Upon Media Bias: Case Studies From The New York Times’ Coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict.

A freelance journalist and photographer, Caballero has had articles and photos published in Egypt Daily Star, Community Times (Egypt), Insight Magazine (Egypt), Nox Magazine (Jordan), The New People (Pittsburgh), and TwoDay Magazine (New York). He cofounded and was chair of Organizing Pittsburgh to Increase Community Solidarity from 2002 to 2004 and media relations coordinator for the International Solidarity Movement in Ramallah, Palestine, from February through July 2007, and he has been president of Pitt’s Students for Justice in Palestine since October 2008.

Caballero is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Students for Justice in Palestine, Pittsburgh Palestine Solidarity Committee, and the International Solidarity Movement.

Manbachi, a Wyoming, Pa., native, is working toward a Bachelor of Philosophy degree in Pitt’s Honors College. She also studied intensive Persian (Farsi) at the University of Tehran in summer 2009. This term, Manbachi is taking part in the Global Studies Student Ambassador Program, collaborating with faculty to plan Global Studies events.

Manbachi’s leadership activities include service as president of Pi Sigma Alpha, a political science national honor society. She also is a graduate of Pitt’s Emerging Leaders Program and founder of the McGlynn Center After School Program in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., where she implemented a tutoring program for disadvantaged children in the local public schools.

A member of the Golden Key Society, Manbachi served as a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars from 2008 to 2009, a member of Sigma Alpha Lambda from 2007 to 2009, and an executive board member and graduate of the Junior Leadership Program of Wilkes-Barre from 2006 to 2008. She volunteers with several organizations, giving more than 100 hours of service in 2008 and 2009 to the Living and Learning Leadership Community for Civic Engagement and Community Service.

Petrany, from Huntington, W.Va., is working toward a BS in economics and a BA in political science. He serves as a tutor for Pitt’s Academic Resource Center, tutoring fellow students in economics, political science, chemistry, statistics, and study skills; in spring 2009, he tutored high school students at University Prep High School in Pittsburgh’s Hill District.

A cohost of Pitt WPTS Radio’s “Media Roundtable,” Petrany interviews student leaders, Pittsburgh City Council members, and local political candidates on various topics. He is president of Pitt’s Newman Oratory Club and has served as editor of the Catholic Anchor, editorial board member of Pitt Political Review, and chair of service projects for the Newman Center in Pittsburgh, where he organized visits to the elderly, worked at soup kitchens, and distributed meals to the homeless.

Petrany’s honors include membership in the Sigma Alpha Lambda National Honor Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. A National Merit Scholar finalist, Petrany received a Pitt Honors Scholarship and has made the dean’s list since Fall 2007.

Participation in the HIA’s core programs provides the foundation for further involvement with HIA. Upon completion of summer fellowships, participants may proceed to international internships to continue their training in human rights issues. Past fellows have used their experiences with HIA to further careers in such fields as education, civil service, journalism, law, and art.

HIA was founded in 1997 to guide student leaders in the study of human rights. Fellows are selected on the basis of high academic achievement, evidence of leadership ability, and demonstrated commitment to human rights issues.