By lessening some of the financial barriers to accessing higher education, the Lenore S. Tishman
Scholarship helps adult learners returning to college who are outstanding academically, actively
engaged in their community, and committed to the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam – “healing the
With the assistance of a scholarship and guidance from the NCJW Pittsburgh Section, Lenore
Tishman returned to college as a single mother of five children in the 1960’s. She went on to
earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees, with honors, and dedicated her 40-year
professional career to counseling children and adolescents with profound learning disabilities.
Lenore’s life experience demonstrates that income does not determine outcome, especially
when it comes to education. When excellence is supported by opportunity, everyone benefits.
2021 Scholarship Recipient – Nina Geller
Nina Geller is a native of Denver, Colorado. She grew up attending religious school from consecration to confirmation at Temple Sinai, and continued onto Hebrew High School for her junior and senior year. She participated on the Israel Study Tour in 2007, which gave her a desire to maintain her Jewish connections to Israel. In 2008, she graduated from D’Evelyn Jr./Sr. High School, and attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. While at Dickinson, she remained an active participant in Hillel, and even participated in alternative spring breaks, volunteering in places such as Montevideo, Uruguay, and farms in southern California. During her junior year, she studied abroad at the Peking University in Beijing, China, solidifying her Mandarin language skills. In 2012, Nina graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies, with a concentration in Mandarin. Interested in continuing her language studies while learning more about environmental studies, she attended formerly called the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS), now known as the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. During the summer 2013, she interned at Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots & Shoots Beijing Office, where her translations helped gained international traction for this non-governmental organization. She also drafted a bilingual brochure to bring attention to companies why they should ban the sale of shark fin soup. In 2014, Nina interned at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, where she worked on a US-China bilateral initiative. She also graduated with her first master’s degree from MIIS in International Environmental Policy.
In 2015, Nina applied to work as a substitute teacher while job searching. In 2016, she became a substitute teacher in Denver Public Schools, teaching at elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the city. After completing a language-intense program in Beijing in the fall, Nina returned to Colorado, where she worked at Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison, Colorado. She initially started working on a preschool program called Triceratots, which is a monthly story-time and craft program. After several years, Nina became a gift shop supervisor. Nina had also worked as a paraprofessional in several schools in Jefferson County Public Schools before deciding to take the plunge to become a certified teacher. Since the fall 2020, she has worked as a preschool teacher at Temple Sinai Preschool. Nina started her formal coursework for the University of Northern Colorado’s Extended Campus during the spring 2021, and hopes to graduate in December 2022 with a Master of Arts Degree in Multilingual Education, World Language Licensure. She wants to teach Mandarin Chinese in public schools in Colorado. Additionally, Nina has remained active in the Denver Jewish community, from volunteering annually at Ekar Farms, to joining the B’nai Chaim board during the summer 2020. While on her temple’s board, she spearheaded the canned food drive for Jewish Family Services during the High Holy Days, where her minivan was packed with goods, except for the driver’s seat.