GIA Awards Nearly $100,000 in Scholarships

Scholarships valued at nearly $100,000 have been awarded to 31 on-campus and distance education students of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) for the 2004 academic year. Conferred annually on qualified applicants who wish to enroll in the Institute’s Graduate Gemologist (G.G.) and Graduate Jeweler (G.J.) programs, the scholarships are made possible through the support of leading jewelry industry organizations, private companies, and individuals.

Elena Klibanova of Chicago was the winner of the Dennis Foltz Distance Education scholarship for the G.G. diploma program. Klibanova works in the industry in sales and as an office manager. Cheryl Hopper, a recipient of the James R. Lucey Scholarship, was awarded a full scholarship to attend GIA’s G.J. diploma program. An experienced jewelry sales professional based in San Clemente, Calif., Hopper has worked in the industry for 13 years. A life-changing event that put her in a wheelchair inspired her to reorganize her life to pursue her dream of becoming a bench jeweler.

Winners of the inaugural Richard T. Liddicoat Scholarships were announced at the Industry Awards Presentation Feb. 6 in Tucson. Wayne E. Houser Jr. of Visalia, Calif., and Jeanie Hord-Bellows of Laguna Park, Texas, were presented with full scholarships to the G.G. program—Houser for the on- campus program and Hord-Bellows for distance education. Two $10,000 matching gifts from K.R. Gems & Diamonds International and Platinum Guild International made the scholarships possible.

Other 2004 on-campus education scholarship winners included:

Katherine Trunnell of Darnestown, Md.; Wayne Houser of Visalia, Calif.; Hilary Thompson of Albuquerque, N.M. Cheryl Hopper of San Clemente, Calif.; John Hess of Warrenton, Mo.; Regina Hardman of Baldwin Park, Calif.; Steven Cummings of Rio Vista, Calif.; Linda Coker of Plano, Texas; Matthew Bachrad of Boca Raton, Fla.; Denise Luke of Tampa, Fla.; Catherine Stam of Encinitas, Calif.; Kate Waterman of Keystone, Colo.; Pyari Nandwana of Southfield, Mich.; Ayanna Smith of Vista, Calif.; Hannah Park of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.; Mikelson Leong of Alameda, Calif.; Stephanie Osborn of Long Beach, Calif.; Erin Eagon of Walla Walla, Wash.; Wai Win of Elmhurst, N.Y.; Elena Klibanova of Chicago, Ill.; Jeanie Hord-Bellows of Laguna Park, Texas; Lisa Lyons of Wentzville, Mo.; Stephanie Asher of San Antonio, Texas; Edward Letizia of Freehold, N.J.; Cristy Merrell of Seattle, Wash.; Barbara Petersen of Encinitas, Calif.; Nancy Cohen of Old Bridge, N.J.; Audrey Martinez of Austin, Texas; Tina Snelling of Zanesville, Ohio; Kelli Marcou of Wilmington, Mass.; and Jean Marie Almao of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.

Applications for 2005 scholarships will be available online at GIA’s Web site ( in a downloadable format beginning July 2004. Candidates must be U.S. citizens, and submissions should be presented no later than Nov. 1, 2004. For more information, call (800) 421-7250, ext. 4175 or (760) 603-4000, ext. 4175; fax (760) 603-4153; or e-mail: Qualifications differ for each scholarship.

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