PIIE Scholarship Internship at Women’s Health Center Reinforces Recipient’s Desire to Pursue a Medical Career

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

By Gail Roth*


Ramya Palaniappan

University of Colorado, Boulder 2015 Public Interest Internship Experience (PIIE) scholarship recipient Ramya Palaniappan’s experience working as Development Event Assistant at the Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center was transformative and may prove to be life changing. Ramya, a senior Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology major who will receive her Bachelor of Arts in May, 2016 applied for a scholarship through the Casey Feldman Foundation to be able to intern with a non-profit organization that provides accessible health care to lower income families. With newly gained insight into how medical centers can provide integrated and holistic approaches to health care, especially in ob/gyn and women’s health, along with a greater awareness of the part that advocacy and social justice play in our complex and expansive health care system, Ramya believes she will pursue her career in this public interest area.

While learning many new skills and enhancing her general experience in the non-profit arena, Ramya felt it was a privilege to work in a positive environment which preached the value of “empowerment for all individuals.” Raised by a single parent with a sibling in medical school, who is paying her own way through college, receiving the scholarship enabled Ramya to plan for her future, including taking the MCATs or GREs, applying to graduate or medical schools and travelling to investigate post graduate opportunities.

During her internship Ramya worked on substantive projects including Condom Couture solicitations, public speaking on the Center’s work in women’s health as well as the specific health care issues confronted by the population served by the Center. She participated in a Women Powering Change conference and researched how organizations create inclusiveness so that the community the Center seeks to serve can have its needs met. She also conducted grants research and constructed a patient survey.

Ramya learned an enormous amount about women’s health and its position in the social and political realm in the United States. In fact, the experience was so impactful that she will continue volunteering at the Center. While the internship focused on the development side of the organization, with her deepened understanding of the impact of health on individuals, she believes she will seek a career after graduation in the medical field relating to reproductive health and women’s issues.

The Public Interest Internship Experience for students at The University of Colorado Boulder began in 2005 and provides students with  paid summer internships at a government agency or non-profit, organizations that may not otherwise be able to provide compensation. The Casey Feldman Foundation has funded one student per year since 2010, following Casey’s death in 2009.

Donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that additional students may experience the rewards of a Public Interest Internship (PIIE) internship.

PIIE 2015

Ramya Palaniappan (center) with past PIIE Casey Feldman Foundation scholarship recipients, Colin Mayberry (L) – The Nature Conservancy, 2013 & Dylan Mark – Boulder Valley Humane Society, 2012 at the Feldman home in August

Related Links:

I Have a Dream – “This was the best and most beneficial summer of my life”   (Ellie Roberts PIIE 2014)

PIIE Scholarship Recipient Aids Non-Profit Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center (Lynette Schweimler PIIE 2011)

PIIE Awards First Casey Feldman Memorial Scholarship (Mercedes Ruiz PIIE 2010)



gail roth*Gail Roth is an attorney with Bookspan Family Law in Radnor, PA.  Having also experienced the traumatic loss of a loved one, Gail  focuses her practice on helping clients move through difficult transitions and building happier futures. She is a former colleague of Casey’s father, Joel Feldman.

Foundation scholarship enables Fordham student to pursue dream internship at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art

Monday, December 15th, 2014

By Kelsey Butler*

Jessica Wendroff

Jessica Wendroff

For one Fordham University photography student, her college experience became slightly more picture perfect when she got the chance to pursue a dream internship. Jessica Wendroff, a double major in communication and media studies with a concentration in film, and visual arts with a concentration in photography, was able to achieve her goal of interning at the Museum of Modern Art in New York after winning the Casey A. Feldman Memorial Scholarship.

The scholarship was established at Fordham University where Casey was a senior at the time of her death, to assist students with finances so that they could gain valuable experience in their field by taking advantage of internship opportunities. Without the $2500 stipend, Jessica would have had to forgo the unpaid internship at the museum for part-time employment to help cover college expenses.

Jessica was able to spend her time at the Museum of Modern Art this past spring researching, organizing and correcting images for exhibits.  According to Jessica, “I was able to solely focus on my internship and thoroughly enjoy and absorb it, instead of having to juggle work and the experience.  The money helped fund my transportation and food, as well as allow me to buy a small subscription of Photoshop, so that I could practice what was being taught to me from home.  I was also able to buy more memory cards and camera equipment so that I could take more photographs and with better quality.”

Jessica Wendroff and Fordham professor & mentor to Casey, Dr. Elizabeth Stone at the Fordham Sr. Leadership Awards Banquet

Jessica Wendroff and Fordham professor & mentor to Casey, Dr. Elizabeth Stone at the Fordham Sr. Leadership Awards Banquet

Jessica, who graduated from Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus in 2014, and has just completed travels to various countries to take street photographs, said her time at the school has given her experiences that she intends to carry with her in her career and beyond.

These include serving as an orientation leader and darkroom assistant at the university, as well as participating in Fordham’s Emerging Leaders program. Additionally, Jessica has volunteered at Free Arts NYC, which provides arts-based mentoring programs for young people.

She adds that the internship and award have also had a profound impact on her:

I am extremely grateful for having been granted this opportunity and have nothing but warm thoughts and gratitude for the Feldman family,” she said. “I feel that the experience helped move from where I wanted to be to where I needed to be and was definitely a catalyst for growth, both visually and intellectually. All in all, the experience helped carve an intern into a tech-savvy career woman with a heightened aesthetic sense and judgment. I am eternally appreciative for having an experience that not only bettered my resume, but my mind and the way I view the world and photography.

Fordham Professor Stephen Kalisky said Jessica stood out in his effective speaking class and called her “one of the true delights” of the semester because of her sense of humor and impressive work ethic.

“I often say that regardless of where they start, I want all of my students to move 10 feet forward during their semester with me,” he wrote in a recommendation letter. “Jessica leaped and bound past 10 feet. I haven’t encountered many students who overcame their blocks with such efficiency and determination.”

Please make a donation to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that additional students may experience their dream internship.


*casey & kelseyKelsey Butler was one of Casey’s best friends and roommate at Fordham University. She works as a financial journalist in New York.


Congratulations Brooke and Ashley!

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Brooke & Casey at a Fordham Alumni Event in June 2008

Congratulations are in order for Brooke Burdge and Ashley WennersHerron, both seniors at Fordham College at Lincoln Center, who are the first recipients of the Casey Feldman Award.

Both women are friends of Casey and are fellow Communication students who have worked with Casey on the Fordham Lincoln Center newspaper, The Observer. The award is funded by the Casey A. Feldman Memorial Endowed Fund, and will provide support for the recipients, who are each pursuing a degree in Communication and Media Studies. 

This year, as a tribute to Casey’s graduating class, the award was given to two students, who will each receive $2000. With the financial support of the fund, the recipients are able to take advantage of an unpaid internship in their area of interest in the Communications field.

In the upcoming spring semester, Brooke will be interning at The Ritz-Carlton Central Park as the marketing and sales assistant for the

Ashley & Casey at the ACP’s National College Journalism Convention Mar. 2008

entertainment division Her duties will include market research for upcoming events in NYC as well as research and analysis on other New York luxury hotels in the Ritz-Carlton competitive set. Brooke will also be providing customer service and sales assistance  for potential clients and current guests. 

Ashley will be interning for the second consecutive semester in the medical unit at CNN. She will continue contributing to Paging Dr. Gupta”, Sanjay Gupta’s CNN blog, and researching in the edit bay. Additionally, she will begin associate producing packages for broadcast and writing articles for cnn.com/health.

The Fordham Alumni News (December 2009), “Family Endows Fund in Daughter’s Name”

Monday, January 11th, 2010

  Read the article as originally published online.

Family Endows Fund in Daughter’s Name

Contact: Bob Howe
(212) 636-6538
[email protected]

The family of Casey A. Feldman, a senior at Fordham College at Lincoln Center who was struck by a car and killed this summer, has created the Casey A. Feldman Memorial Endowed Fund with a $50,000 gift to the University which will support one student during an unpaid communications internship each year.

“Casey was able to take full advantage of the internship opportunities available while a student at Fordham,” said Dianne Anderson and Joel Feldman, Casey’s mother and father. “Her internship experiences helped her focus her interest in journalism, gain practical experience in her field and make professional contacts. We are very proud of what Casey was able to accomplish while a student at Fordham and are proud to be able to help future Fordham Lincoln Center students achieve their career goals through the internship experience.”

Feldman, former news editor of the Lincoln Center student newspaper The Observer, lived in a Philadelphia suburb with her family, and was working at a summer job in Ocean City, N.J., where she died on July 17. She was a communications major who graduated from Springfield High School in Pennsylvania. Feldman joined The Observer as a freshman and was named assistant news editor as a sophomore. While serving as news editor in her junior year, Feldman was named a finalist for the 2009 Chandler Award for Student Writer of the Year in Religion, sponsored by the Religion Newswriters Association. Feldman had planned to return to her Observer position in the fall, and was to begin an internship at New York 1 television station. (more…)