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Senior Received Drinko Research Grant to Work on Documentary in Israel

Posted on Thursday, March 3, 2011

Westminster College senior broadcast communications major Alyssa Hanna received an Undergraduate Research Grant from Westminster's Drinko Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Hanna will travel to Western Galilee College in Israel and spend the month of June filming and conducting interviews for a documentary on Israeli women from a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds.

"I am researching the unique and distinctive religions of the women I will interview," Hanna said.  "There are so many fascinating traditions, rules, and history.  I will ask about their social status, the way they are perceived in their community and globally, and their feelings on stereotypes associated with their religion."

The resulting 30-minute film will be Hanna's senior capstone project.  "I think this documentary has the potential to be eye-opening to people who have very limited knowledge of the Middle East."

Hanna credits Dr. Yehuda Peled, head of the Information Studies Department at Western Galilee College and Westminster's Fulbright Scholar in Residence for the year, with providing invaluable help in gathering information.

Bradley Weaver, Westminster broadcast communications lecturer, is Hanna's adviser. 

"Her project is an example of a driven student eager to seek out experiences and opportunities that challenge her and her audience," Weaver said.  "This trip will take her farther away than any documentary project from Westminster has ever traveled." 

"Alyssa has taken on the task of managing the field production, field work, and information gathering in a setting that few Westminster students have ever experienced," Weaver added.  "She is embarking on a journey that will shape the story she hopes to tell, as well as help define her own world view as she experiences the larger world community and embraces her role as a global citizen."

Hanna is a daughter of Susan Hanna, Allison Park, and Mark Hanna and a graduate of Shaler Area High School.

The Drinko Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning was created to enrich undergraduate education at Westminster through advancing world-class teaching as well as by participating in collaborations that address community and regional needs including strengthening K-12 education.  The Undergraduate Research Initiative provides funding for students to conduct research and to present their research at regional and national conferences.  Visit for more information about the Drinko Center and its programs.

Contact Weaver at (724) 946-7238 or e-mail for additional information.