CFCF Awards Eller Study Abroad Scholarships

May 23, 2023

The Cedar Falls Community Foundation has awarded five $5,000 scholarships from the Robert Eller Study Abroad Endowment to support UNI students studying abroad during the Fall 2023 semester.

The Robert Eller Study Abroad Endowment was established by emeritus UNI Education Media Specialist Robert Eller to foster the educational, professional, and personal growth of undergraduate students at the University of Northern Iowa by providing funds to support study outside the United States for students whose previous travel and study experiences abroad had been limited. Applications are accepted through the UNI Study Abroad Center and reviewed by a committee of University of Northern Iowa Emeritus Association members: Diane Curtis (chair), Paul Rider, Joan Duea, Diane Curtis, Gary Shontz and Michael Prahl, and Cedar Falls Community Foundation executive director Sally Kleiss Timmer. Five students were chosen to receive scholarships for Fall 2023 from the Robert Eller Study Abroad Endowment.

Sally Kleiss Timmer, Executive Director of the Cedar Falls Community Foundation, said, “The committee was presented with another round of outstanding student applicants. We are impressed with the quality of UNI students, not only in their classroom work, but their community engagement and passion for their chosen fields and we are happy to assist them in their desire to experience life in another country.”

Each student has been introduced below:

Jordan Kreft, is an English Teaching Major, from Council Bluffs, Iowa. Jordan will study at the University of Hull in Hull, England. After graduation Bre plans to work as a teaching artist. Jordan has never traveled outside the US and is excited to experience new things, meet new people and widen her understanding of the world as a whole.

Mitch Bawek is a Finance major from Center Point, Iowa. Mitch will study at the American College of Greece in Athens. He has never traveled outside the US and is confident that his study abroad experience will provide him with significant education, professional, and personal growth opportunities that will remain with him for a lifetime.

Adam Vig is a History Education major from Mount Vernon, Iowa. Adam plans to study at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He is looking forward to studying history from the South African perspective.

Erin Spake is a Social Work major from Sioux City, Iowa. She will be studying at The Florence University of the Arts in Florence, Italy. While there she plans to take classes that will further her knowledge and understanding of cultural differences that she will likely encounter in her future as a social worker.

Ethan Walthall is a double major in both History and Communication Studies with a minor in Legal Studies from Mason City, IA. He will be studying at the University of Chichester in Chichester, England. Ethan has never had the opportunity to travel outside of the country. He is excited to learn history in a place with so much history!

“Robert Eller wanted to give Iowa students the opportunity to travel and study abroad for all the benefits that brings to personal growth and independence. The Foundation is honored to help fulfill Mr. Eller’s legacy and assist these students with a study abroad experience. Upon their return, the students will present about their study abroad experiences to prospective students and hopefully encourage more students to study abroad in the future” said the CFCF director.

The Robert Eller Study Abroad Scholarship Fund has awarded 95 scholarships for a total $344,649. Jasmine Zeleke was an Eller Scholarship awardee for the spring semester of 2023. Of her experience she says, “My semester in Costa Rice has been challenging, eye opening, unforgettable and absolutely beautiful. I am so grateful I was able to take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad, as it has been a once in a lifetime adventure.” Applications for the Robert Eller Study Abroad Scholarship are available by contacting the Study Abroad office at the University of Northern Iowa at

The Cedar Falls Community Foundation is a nationally accredited community foundation, managed by a Board of Directors made up of Cedar Falls residents. The Cedar Falls Community Foundation accepts and manages estate gifts and donations to fulfill donor wishes, assisting donors to achieve their charitable legacy. The mission of the Cedar Falls Community Foundation is to inspire and connect individuals, families and organizations to enhance our community, support non-profits, elevate educational opportunities, and build legacies through philanthropy. The Cedar Falls Community Foundation strives to be a champion of local philanthropy and a trusted, empowering partner to donors who are passionate about enriching the community of Cedar Falls.For more information about the Cedar Falls Community Foundation, please visit or contact 319.243.9170 or