Hooey Scholar Ella DuRie savors in-person learning

November 7, 2022

For Ella DuRie, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Biology with a minor in Spanish and Chemistry, making the transition from virtual to in-person learning has been a game-changer. After two full semesters of completely online courses, Ella went back to in-person learning this fall. Her first in-person class was Organic Chemistry class in a 300-person lecture hall.

“It felt like I was in a completely different world than the one I had known before,” Ella said. “It gave me a true sense of community at Pitt that I never experienced before. I hope we get to stay in-person for the rest of my college career. However, after having it taken away, I will never take my education for granted.”

This past spring Ella became an undergraduate teaching assistant in a Foundations of Biology Lab called SEA-PHAGES. This lab uses both bioinformatics and wet lab strategies to determine the properties of different bacteria. Ella also works on campus in the Microbiology Department as a lab assistant.

Ella continues to be a part of the Pittsburgh Attacks Cancer Together Club and now serves on its executive board. Proceeds received from various fundraisers go directly to the Hillman Cancer Center for research.  Ella continues to be an active participant in her sorority, Chi Omega, and has assumed the role of Philanthropy Chair.

“Sophomore year at the University of Pittsburgh has truly helped me come into my own,” Ella recalls. “I absolutely love my school, my city, my professors, my friends and everything in between. I am forever grateful that the Austin O. Hooey Scholarship has given me the opportunity to thrive in college.  Thank you for giving me an incredible college experience thus far.”


The Austin O. Hooey Scholarship Fund, which is administered by the Community Foundation, provides one or more college scholarship awards ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 per year for four consecutive years to one or more graduating senior(s) of Chatham High School. The scholarship is awarded based on financial need, academic performance, and merit.

Austin Hooey, a longtime Chatham resident and one of the first female financial analysts on Wall Street, left $1.2 million to the Community Foundation of New Jersey for a permanent scholarship endowment for Chatham High School students.