New Penn State Hazleton scholarship supports students in STEM

HAZLETON, Pa. -- A new endowed scholarship has been created to support those studying science, technology, engineering or math at Penn State Hazleton.

The Hannah S. and Samuel A. Cohn Memorial Foundation has established the Elsie B. Cohn Memorial Scholarship, endowed at $50,000. The scholarship will support Penn State Hazleton students who are majoring in or planning to major in a degree program that focuses on science, technology, engineering or math (STEM), who have a demonstrated financial need for funds to meet their necessary college expenses, and who graduated from high schools located in Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Luzerne and Schuylkill counties.

The scholarship will be matched by the John E. Morgan Foundation to become a $100,000 endowed scholarship. The Tamaqua-based Morgan Foundation carries on the philanthropy of the late John E. Morgan and has made significant contributions to Penn State campuses in eastern Pennsylvania.

“We appreciate the commitment the Cohn and Morgan foundations are demonstrating toward students from eastern Pennsylvania," said Penn State Hazleton Chancellor Gary Lawler. "Many of our students come from this region, and it is particularly meaningful for that support to come from local organizations.”

The Hannah S. and Samuel A. Cohn Memorial Foundation was incorporated in 1987 by brothers Gerald and Martin Cohn in memory of their parents. Since it was established, the foundation has focused on supporting charitable efforts in northeastern Pennsylvania, including education.

Shelley Cohn, Gerald’s daughter and president of the Hannah S. and Samuel A. Cohn Memorial Foundation, said, “My father, his brother, his sister Marilyn Bergstein and their children were all raised in Hazleton. While none of us live there any longer, the area remains very near and dear to our hearts. We knew Penn State Hazleton was an important educational element within the community, and we wanted to support the campus and its students.”

The scholarship was established in memory of Martin Cohn’s wife, Elsie, who passed away in 2018. She was a bacteriologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston in the 1950s, a time when it was uncommon for women to work in scientific fields.

“My aunt Elsie and uncle Martin met at Penn State and spent their whole adult lives in Hazleton, so the Hazleton campus became a merging of two things that were important to them,” Shelley Cohn said. “Through her work at the hospital, she put my uncle through law school at Harvard. She continued her medically scientific background throughout her life as a caregiver not only for her family, but her extended community. Considering her background and occupation, we thought the STEM scholarship at Penn State Hazleton was a really good fit for the Cohn foundation.”

This is the third scholarship established at Penn State Hazleton by the Hannah S. and Samuel A. Cohn Memorial Foundation. The foundation previously created the Hannah S. and Samuel A. Cohn Memorial Foundation Scholarship and the Gerald L. Cohn Memorial Scholarship.

The scholarship will advance “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a twenty-first-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit

For more information on giving opportunities at Penn State Hazleton, contact Christen Reese, director of campus development, at 570-450-3015 or [email protected].