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Since 1927, gifts to The Penn Fund—from undergraduate alumni and parents like you—have made a profound and immediate impact on all aspects of student life and learning at the University by providing grant-based financial aid packages to undergraduates, supporting enhancements to academic programs and campus technology, and fostering community through student clubs and organizations. This longstanding tradition of loyal generosity allows donors to support the University’s greatest needs and highest priorities through the general fund, long-term scholarship support, and special reunion class projects.

How do we support Undergraduates at Penn?

Undergraduate Financial Aid
Residential and Campus Life
Academic Enrichment

As an international student, I wouldn’t have been able to afford studying in the U.S. without aid. I’m thankful that Penn offered me such a wonderful scholarship.””

Hertha Torre Gallego C’24

Hertha Torre Gallego C’24

“Starting in grade school, it was my dream go to a school like Penn,” says Hertha Torre Gallego C’24. Born in Madrid to a family of musicians, Hertha considered the University the ideal environment for pursuing her passions and cultivating community—and the generosity of alumni donors made it possible for her to attend. “I was looking for an interdisciplinary learning environment in which I could explore new opportunities. As an international student, I wouldn’t have been able to afford studying in the U.S. without aid. I’m thankful that Penn offered me such a wonderful scholarship.”

While Hertha’s academic journey has inspired new interests and opportunities, Penn’s extracurricular resources have allowed her to continue fostering her passion for music. “I’ve played violin since I was four, and I had this idea that I either had to become a professional violinist or I couldn’t do it at all. Through student groups, Penn offers a wonderful middle ground, in which undergraduates can engage in their non-academic interests at a really high level.” Hertha is currently the second violin in the Penn Orchestra as well as a member of Penn Compose, for which she performs musical pieces composed exclusively by other undergraduate students. Penn’s location in Philadelphia also provides access to stellar professional performances. “Philadelphia is an amazing city for music, and it has one of the top five orchestras in the United States. I go to performances almost every weekend.”

Alumni philanthropy has continually shaped Hertha’s educational journey. A double major in Health and Societies (with a concentration in Global Health) and Hispanic Studies, Hertha applied to participate in Penn Abroad’s Global Research and Internship Program (GRIP) the summer after her sophomore year. Through this program, she was funded to travel to the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she worked at a public health nonprofit organization focused on maternal and child health and wellbeing. This experience offered Hertha a new perspective on global health challenges, and she had an opportunity to return to Argentina the following summer to complete her own independent research project.

Through her work with under-resourced communities, Hertha witnessed the lack of access to information and maternal healthcare for those living outside major urban centers—even in a country with seemingly wide-reaching and progressive health policies. “These women that were part of low-resource, low-income communities didn’t have access that women in city centers had to abortion services and information, and family planning in general.” Over the course of five weeks, Hertha interviewed 36 subjects to learn their unique stories, and she will present her research at conferences this semester. “Thanks to the very kind people that donated and made these scholarships and grants possible for me, I was able to create my own new, independent research. This experience allowed me to discover what I want to do in the future and how I want to continue making an impact in the world. This has been one of the highlights of my Penn experience, academically and personally. I’m so grateful.”

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Favorite Place to Eat Near Campus
Terakawa Ramen on 40th Street. It’s so good—the ultimate comfort food.
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Favorite Penn Memory
My first in-person class was Existential Despair with Professor Justin McDaniel, which meets for seven hours once a week. Each student receives a book to read cover to cover during the first five hours of each session, and the last two hours of class offer space for a really thought-provoking discussion. It was an experience like no other—no technology was permitted in class; I felt really vulnerable and also incredibly enriched by all the perspectives and the people I got to meet, and of course the books we shared and discussed. It was an amazing experience.
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