Created and funded by Mitch and Debra Sonkin and Marc and Giulia Weisman, the Sonkin-Weisman Scholars program is a prestigious, invitation-only scholarship awarded to a small number of Temple University College of Liberal Arts’ (CLA) most academically accomplished and intellectually ambitious students. 

Mitch Sonkin, CLA ‘74, and Marc Weisman, CLA ‘74, LAW ‘77, both credit Temple with being a springboard into their respective, highly successful careers. Along with their wives—Debra Sonkin and Giulia Weisman— they’ve maintained a dedication to giving back and helping shape our next generation of leaders. That’s why they founded a program that provides so much more than just funding to an exceptional crop of students. 

Sonkin-Weisman scholars have the opportunity to spend time and forge relationships with academic leadership and successful alumni to build their professional networks and receive ongoing mentorship and insight. This program offers a full suite of funded experiential learning opportunities (research, internships, community engagement and study abroad) to a select number of academically elite students. 

The Sonkin-Weisman Scholars program aims to cultivate the best possible educational experience at one of the nation’s leading urban, public research universities. Our goal is to propel our scholars toward world-class careersgraduate programs and fellowships such as: Gates- CambridgeRhodes and Fulbright

In addition to any financial awards students are offered from Temple, Sonkin-Weisman Scholars are awarded an additional $6,000 while obtaining their undergraduate degree through guaranteed placement in three of our four signature learning experiences:

Liberal Arts Undergraduate Research Award (LAURA)

Temple University has been designated an R1 Research Institution, placing us among the top four percent of all four-year institutions in the nation in research activity. By conducting scholarly research, our students gain standout experience and a much deeper understanding of their research topic.

The Liberal Arts Undergraduate Research Award (LAURA) grant paid research opportunities to students as they pair with a faculty mentor to work on a faculty-led research project. The LAURAs attract the best and brightest students who want to take advantage of a unique learning opportunity. Participating students graduate with the requisite experience to help them land at a prestigious graduate school or organization.

Pathways to Professions (P2P) Internship Award​

Because CLA is a home for community- oriented change makers, gaining real-world experience in the corporate, nonprofit and government sectors—in the Philadelphia area and beyond—is vital to our student experience. Internships are crucial to developing entry-level skills, building formative relationships and determining what type of work will best suit you in the future. The Pathways to Professions (P2P) Internship Award​ Internship Award offers students a stipend to gain relevant, hands-on work experience at internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Study Abroad Grant 

Study abroad programs provide opportunities for students to engage with diverse cultures, learn new languages and prepare themselves to become global citizens. Sonkin-Weisman Scholars will be awarded funds toward a cultural immersion experience that will redefine how they view the world and understand their place within it. Understanding how global issues impact local communities in different countries builds greater empathy and reframes how students will approach society’s greatest challenges.

CLA Community Scholars Semester

Community-engaged Learning (CEL) is a collaboration between students, faculty and community stakeholders to address community-identified needs. Through collaboratively designed CEL volunteer experiences, students develop a richer understanding of how liberal arts disciplines function in real-world applications, hone skills that will aid in future career pursuits and help community organizations gain needed resources. 

Through a Community Scholars Semester, our Sonkin-Weisman Scholars will receive a stipend to work with local community-based organizations, serve as peer mentors for students enrolled in community-engaged learning programs and help shape the future of community engagement at the College of Liberal Arts. 

Meet our Scholars

Students who have participated in the College of Liberal Arts’ experiential learning programs have achieved high academic success. Read more below!

Picture of Keshvi Chheda

Keshvi Chheda

Neuroscience Major; Statistics and Data Science Minor

Last summer, Chheda worked with the Center of Autism Research at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia as an undergraduate research assistant. She is currently a research assistant at the Adaptive Memory Lab at Temple and an Ignite Fellow with Teach For America. After graduating, Keshvi hopes to continue pursuing a career in research. - Hometown: West Chester, PA

Picture of Anushka Gangupanthulu

Anushka Gangupanthulu

Psychology Major

Gangupanthulu has wasted no time immersing herself in the clubs and programs at CLA. She’s currently a member of Women in Medicine, Temple’s Book Club and a scientific reviewer for Grey Matters, Temple’s undergraduate neuroscience journal. She is also a CLA Student Ambassador. In the upcoming semester, Gangupanthulu will be a part of HATT (Honors Ambassadors to Temple) and will begin volunteering as part of Temple Hospital’s At Your Service Program. She plans to continue her club involvement and begin an internship or research program in the summer - Hometown: Mount Laurel, New Jersey

Picture of Katherine Lee

Katherine Lee

Psychology Major

Katherine is deeply motivated to contribute to the medical field and is eager to expand her knowledge and skill set through hands-on experience. She is currently an Emergency Room Technician with BasicDocGo and volunteers as an EMT. Lee hopes the opportunity to engage and work with professionals and mentors in the field will expand and refine her understanding of the healthcare system. - Hometown: Ambler, PA

Picture of Aviana Poy

Aviana Poy

Political Science Major

Aviana Poy holds her Cambodian heritage and culture near and dear to her heart—that’s why, nearly every Saturday, she can be found at her local temple in Southwest Philly, getting involved and practicing traditional dances. After spending her high school years in West Chester, PA, Poy embraces the energy of city life at Temple. Poy volunteered with Grays Ferry Tree Tenders in the ‘23 fall semester, and she hopes to study abroad in the coming years. - Hometown: Philadelphia and West Chester, PA

Picture of Eugene Tham

Eugene Tham

Criminal Justice Major; Cognitive Neuroscience Minor

Tham began as a neuroscience major at Temple. However, a summer internship at Holy Name Medical Center in New Jersey proved to be a revelatory experience for his career aspirations. Now a criminal justice major—with a minor in Cognitive Neuroscience—Tham sets his sights on a career as a criminal defense lawyer, hoping to combat the biases present in our criminal justice system. - Hometown: Teaneck, NJ