The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is proud to announce five recipients of this year’s UMD John L. N. Bitove, C.M. Macedonian Heritage Scholarship Awards (UMD Bitove Scholarship): Dragan Gjorgiev, Helen Jankovski, Stefan Nicoloff, Filip Petkovski, and Aleksandra Vuchkovska. Since the UMD Bitove Scholarship’s inception in June 2010, UMD has given out approximately $20,000 to Macedonian students in the Diaspora.
The UMD John L. N. Bitove, C.M. Macedonian Heritage Scholarship, named after prominent businessman and pillar of the global Macedonian community John L. N. Bitove, C.M., was established in 2010 to assist Macedonians pursuing undergraduate degrees in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States. The purpose of the UMD John L. N. Bitove, C.M. Macedonian Heritage Scholarship is to advance the education of young Macedonians who are guided by the values of their Macedonian upbringing and heritage. The Bitove Foundation awarded UMD $50,000.00 in June 2010 towards this Scholarship Program, and the funds will be distributed over the course of the next few years. To learn more about the Scholarship Program, please click HERE.
“UMD congratulates Dragan, Helen, Stefan, Filip and Aleksandra – we are so proud of these young and talented Macedonian students and wish them the best of luck in their careers; we are certain they will make us proud,” said UMD President Metodija A. Koloski. “We are so grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Bitove, the entire Bitove family and Foundation for their generosity and investment in the future leaders of our communities.”
Dragan Gjorgiev was born in Stip, Macedonia and immigrated to the United States at age 7. He is currently a junior at Loyola University Chicago (LUC), double-majoring in Political Science and Environmental Science. Upon graduating, he aspires to go to law school and study Environmental Law. He has pursued his passions for politics and environmental activism through political campaigns and seminars, a public service internship, and an internship in green energy and energy procurement. His accomplishments have been awarded scholarships from LUC as well as private business and public organizations. Dragan hopes to someday play a role in ushering in a new era of industries that are both profitable and environmentally conscious.
Helen Jankovski is a fourth year York University student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in Geography and Urban Studies. In addition to this, she is in the Concurrent Education Program at the York for the Intermediate/Senior division. Some of her interests include: gentrification, public versus private space, adaptive reuse, and gated communities. Helen is of Macedonian heritage; her mother is from Radovis and her father is from Bitola. Currently, she is gaining experience as a Product Development Intern with the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) at their headquarters in Pickering, Ontario, and she is a teacher candidate at Markville Secondary School. In the near future, Helen hopes to become a high school teacher.
Stefan Nicoloff was born in Torondo, Canada. He is currently working towards a Master’s in Modern and Contemporary Art at Christies’s Education in London, England. Stefan has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from OCAD University (2010) and a Bachelor of Education degree from Nipissing University (2011). His exposure to Macedonian folk dance and music through Selyani Macedonian Folklore Group and the conversations with his father, James Nicoloff, and maternal grandfather, Ted Evans Gelentsoff, both contributed greatly to his strong sense of Macedonian identity and wider interest in Macedonian culture and history. Stefan is also a Gaida player and he was awarded the “Zlatna Gaida” at the 2009 Pece Atanasovski Festival of Folk Songs and Instruments in Dolneni, Macedonia.
Filip Petkovski was born to Rozeta and Ljupco Petkovski on February 5, 1991 in Skopje, Macedonia. He attended elementary education at the Petar Petrovic- Njegosh School in Skopje. Since he was seven years old, Filip was interested in folk dancing and joined the ensemble for Macedonian folk dances and songs “Skopje” where he later became soloist performer and choreographer. His love of Macedonian folklore and culture influenced Filip to apply at the department for traditional music and dance at the “Ilija Nikolovski – Luj” school for music and ballet. From this point on, Filip started to professionally engage himself in dancing and singings, as well as performing in many countries throughout Europe. His interest continued to further develop, when he decided to apply for the Grant-In-Aid scholarship at the ensemble for Eastern European songs and dances “Tamburitzans” at Duquesne University where he is currently doing his undergraduate studies. Filip is now pursuing a career in Theater Directing and Multimedia, which are his majors at Duquesne University, as well as by actively participating in the productions of the Red Masquers Theater. On the other hand, Filip has continued to perform Macedonian and many other dances and songs at the Duquesne University Tamburitzans where he continuously works, travels and presents the Macedonian culture and folklore in many cities and states throughout the U.S. Filip is at the end of his undergraduate studies and he is looking forward to applying to the John Wells Directing MFA program at Carnegie Mellon University with hopes to become a professional theater director and teacher. He would also like to use this opportunity to thank the United Macedonian Diaspora for all the help provided towards his education and his country and he is very proud that he is Macedonian living in the US and yet contributing to promote his country’s culture and society.
Aleksandra Vuchkovska was born and raised in Pehchevo, Macedonia and immigrated to the U.S. in 2010 to pursue her Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry. She is currently a junior at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois. She was inspired by her family to pursue her dreams of obtaining higher education. Alexandra works as a teacher’s assistant in various Biology and Chemistry classes. She has earned a rank on the Dean’s list, is the recipient of the President Scholarship and was awarded with a membership in the Alpha, Lambda, Delta Honor Society, which honors students ranking within the top 20% of their class. In May 2013, she will take the MCAT and upon her graduation, hopes to begin medical school. Her goal and life vision is to gain an education and experience and to return to Macedonia to serve the under-resourced communities as a medical doctor.