UMD Announces Seven Bitove Scholarship Recipients

The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) proudly announces seven recipients of this year’s UMD John L. N. Bitove, C.M. Macedonian Heritage Scholarship Awards (UMD Bitove Scholarship) in the amount of $1,500 each: Stojanche Andov, Ilija Pancevski, Irena Pejovic, Boshko Stankovski, Tanja Todorova, Aleksander Vasilevski, and Katherine Vrantsidis.

Since the UMD Bitove Scholarship’s inception in 2010, UMD Canada has given out over $30,000 to students pursuing degrees in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States.

“UMD Canada congratulates Stojanche, Ilija, Irena, Boshko, Tanja, Aleksander, and Katherine – we are so proud of these talented and promising individuals and wish them the best of luck in their careers; we are certain they will make us proud,” said UMD Canada Director Jim Daikos. “We are so grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Bitove, the entire Bitove family, and Foundation for their continued generosity and investment in the future leaders of our communities.”

“Since 2010, the Bitove Foundation has been very excited to partner with UMD in honouring our father and investing in the educational advancement of Macedonian students. These ardent and outstanding students exemplify part of the mandate of the Bitove Foundation to encourage the pursuit of our Macedonian cultural roots and many more generations to take pride in Macedonia,” said Ms. Vonna Bitove, daughter of Mr. John L. N. Bitove, C.M.

Biographies of the recipients:

Stojanche Andov was born in the city of Kochani, Macedonia on March 4, 1991. Up until the age of twelve, he lived in Kochani and, afterwards, he came to Skopje where he stayed until the age of eighteen at the orphanage of “11th October.” In Skopje, he studied at the St. Clement of Ohrid Seminary High School, and in 2010, he came to the United States to continue his theological education. In his free time, Stojanche likes to write poetry, taking inspiration from Christ, Who is his Guide in life. In Macedonia, he has published three spiritual poetry books. Michael Rendjov, a prominent Macedonian poet, said the following words in Stojanche’s last book: “Stojanche, with his two previous poetry collections and this third one, had helped to renew the foundations of spiritual poetry in Macedonian modern literature. I hope that by the mercy and providence of God, many young poets will be encouraged to follow in his footsteps.” Likewise, two years ago, the Macedonian national TV (MRT) made a documentary movie about Andov, titled “The Quiet One.” ( He is currently a fifth year student at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, in Jordanville, New York, and is graduating in May 2015. After he graduates, Stojanche is hoping to pursue a Master’s of Theology and one day to serve as a cleric of God and in the Macedonian Orthodox Church.

Ilija Pancevski was born on April 15, 1993 in Skopje, Macedonia. He is currently in his 4th year of engineering school, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida. Ilija immigrated to Boca Raton, Florida with his father Blagoja and mother Ljubinka in May 2010. Upon graduating from Boca Raton Community High School he spent the next two years at Florida Atlantic University, before transferring to University of Florida. There, he is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and was also a part of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) while at Florida Atlantic University. After finishing his undergraduate studies, he aims to continue his education and obtain a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering. His ultimate goal is to have a career in the automotive industry.

Irena Pejovic is a current MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) candidate at Montclair State University in New Jersey. She was born and raised in Gevgelija, Macedonia and moved to the United States in 1999 to pursue her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. Irena is a versatile emerging artist with international exhibition status. Her recent solo exhibitions include Galerija AMAM, Gevgelija, Macedonia; Galerija Karas, Zagreb, Croatia; Gallery MC, New York, NY; and Pop-Up Gallery at the Monroe Arts Center, Hoboken, NJ. Selected group exhibitions include: Sliver, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ, USA; Stars in My Pocket like Grains of Sand, Lower East Side Printshop, New York City, USA; New Print Show, Bushwick Print Lab, Brooklyn, USA; 2012. Legacy Printmaking Center of New Jersey, Branchburg, NJ, USA; Rhythm and Movement, Lana Santorelli Gallery, Hoboken, NJ; International Juried Exhibition Box Heart Gallery, Pittsburgh, NJ, USA. Her connections with the art world in both the U.S. and with institutions abroad are noteworthy: in 2012, she was the Artist in Residence at London Print Studio in London, UK and also served as a member of the Board of Directors at the Printmaking Center of New Jersey. Her work is included in the Contemporary Print Collection of the Museum of Arts and Crafts (Muzej za Umjetnost I Obrt,, in Zagreb, Croatia. Irena Pejovic was awarded the 2013 Step Beyond Travel Grant from the European Cultural Foundation and the 2014 Cultural Grant from the City of Gevgelija, Macedonia.

Boshko Stankovski is a graduate research fellow at the Harvard Law School, where he is working on the issue of secession negotiations in international law. He is finishing his PhD dissertation in international law at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, which focuses on conditionality approach adopted by the international community in dealing with the recent cases of self-determination and attempted secession. Boshko holds a MPhil in international relations from the same university, and a BA in Law from the University of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Skopje, Macedonia. He was awarded the McCloskey research fellowship at the University of Indiana (Bloomington) in 2010 and has conducted a study visit at the Sydney Law School in 2012.

Tanja Todorova was born and raised in Bitola, Macedonia. After finishing high school she decided to move to Paris to pursue her studies in Film Production. She was given an opportunity to study for a year at Brooklyn College in New York where she completed her bachelor’s degree. She works on many international projects and has made several short films inspired by the Macedonian culture. She is currently a student in Master’s Directing and her aspirations are to continue making movies that will be truthful to herself and contribute to the development of the film industry of Macedonia beyond it’s borders.

Aleksander Vasilevski was born in Dearborn, Michigan to Lupco and Meri Vasilevski. Both of his parents immigrated to the United States from Prespa, Macedonia. Aleksander is currently in his third year of study at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, pursuing a major in Political Science and a minor in Economics. His future plans include attaining a graduate degree in Public Policy. He has earned Dean’s list honors every semester as well as having been a student athlete playing soccer at the university. International Relations is also a special interest of his, having taken multiple courses in that area of focus. Having visited Macedonia many times, Aleksander has developed an interest in the current politics of the country and is highly involved in the Macedonian community. He is the President of the Macedonian-American Student Association (MASA) at the University of Michigan, a student organization that seeks to promote the Macedonian identity and educate people on campus about the country. He is also a member of the United Macedonian-Americans of Detroit (UMAD), a group that runs many events each year in order to raise money and donate resources to orphanages and schools in Macedonia. He would like to thank the United Macedonian Diaspora for not only assisting towards his education, but most of all, for the essential role they play in raising awareness and making the Macedonian voice heard worldwide.

Katherine Vrantsidis was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She is in her third year of the Honours Bachelor of Mathematics program at the University of Windsor, majoring in Mathematics and Statistics with a minor in Biological Sciences. An outstanding student, Katherine is attending university on a full academic scholarship and has achieved President’s and Dean’s Honour Roll status each semester of her studies. As a result of her academic performance, she was accepted to the Outstanding Scholars undergraduate research program, where she has worked directly with professors on research projects. She graduated from her high school’s Enriched Program at the top of her class of over 400 students, earning her the Governor General’s Academic Medal. In addition, she played varsity soccer in high school and Canadian Soccer Association-certified referee. Katherine has a passion for academics and service, and is drawn towards leadership opportunities. Her volunteer work includes positions with Toastmasters International, Students Offering Support, and Let’s Talk Science. She is the President of UWindsor’s Mathematics & Statistics Association, and is a member of Golden Key International Honour Society and Mensa. She directly attributes many of her achievements to the traits she has learned from both her family and her Macedonian heritage. Katherine’s father and paternal grandparents were born in the Lerin region of Aegean Macedonia. Her maternal grandparents were born in the Bitola region of the Republic of Macedonia, and her mother was born in Michigan, United States. Katherine aspires to make a difference in a field where she can combine her passion for learning with her subjects of study. She would like to take this opportunity to thank the United Macedonian Diaspora and the Bitove Foundation for this honour.

UMD’s Canadian operations administer 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. Established in 2010, 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.

Pleas stay tuned for our call for applicants for the 2015 UMD Bitove Scholarship Awards.


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