Three Croatian-American Students Awarded Educational Scholarships for Study in Croatia

Published: May 25, 2017

Photo via Madison Vlasic, Ocular Essence


Recognition includes summer study in Zagreb and monetary award

CHICAGO, May 25, 2017 – The Association of Croatian American Professionals (ACAP) awarded educational scholarships to three students at the 2017 Annual ACAP Conference and Gala Award Dinner in Chicago on May 12, 2017.

The ACAP student awards recognized those who have demonstrated educational excellence along with dedicated support to the Croatian-American community. The winners, chosen from a competitive pool of nominees across the United States, received a scholarship valued at more than $1,000 in addition to a monetary award from ACAP.

“The awards were created to recognize academic achievers who have maintained a strong connection to the Croatian-American community,” said Marko Zoretic, president, ACAP. “It also allows our young members to enhance their educational opportunities and business acumen in a meaningful way, while immersing them in Croatian culture.”

The study abroad opportunity includes full tuition for a summer course on cross-cultural negotiations and dispute resolution at the Zagreb School of Economics and Management in Zagreb, Croatia.

The scholarship recipients are:

Madeline Kovacevic, a Loyola University Chicago student who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology and minor in neuroscience. She is currently a volunteer at Comer Children’s Hospital at The University of Chicago Medicine and previously volunteered at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois.

Kovacevic has been an active member of the Croatian community in Chicago, having participated in Croatian language school and the folkore group Hrvatska Loza. Currently, she is a member of the adult folklore group KUD Bastina. She has performed in folklore festivals around the United States, Canada and Croatia.

 She has had the honor to sing before distinguished guests Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, President of the Republic of Croatia, and numerous other Croatian community events in Chicago.

Gordan Kucan was born and raised in Rijeka, Croatia and is a student at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering in Evanston, Illinois. Kucan is majoring in civil engineering and will obtain a certificate in architectural engineering and design in June of this year. Before continuing his graduate studies, Kucan plans to complete an internship in architecture and structural engineering fields.

Kucan is an active member of ACAP student group and created engagement opportunities with a new ACAP student Facebook page. He works closely with the executive committee to advance student-focused programming and initiatives.

Tatjana Mustac, an undergraduate pre-med student is double majoring in neuroscience and psychology, and minoring in chemistry at Queens College in Flushing, New York.  She serves as a medical researcher at the school. Mustac conducted a research study under the mentorship of a Rutgers University professor. The project was accepted at three professional conferences and one STEM competition in the United States and Europe.

Mustac is an active member of the Croatian community in New York. She has been a member of Kardinal Stepinac New York, a folklore group that travels throughout North America performing traditional Croatian folklore. During her high school years, she created the first Croatian Club to promote awareness at Saint Francis Preparatory High School in New York. She currently teaches Croatian folklore to Croatian school students and is a member of the Croatian Youth Group of New York. After obtaining her PhD/MD, Mustac plans to become a neurosurgeon or neurologist/psychiatrist.

Founded in 2002, the Zagreb School of Economics and Management provides undergraduate and graduate education programs. The three ACAP scholarship winners will travel to Zagreb this summer to attend a nine-day program. They will also have the opportunity to visit international companies and the U.S. Embassy while in Zagreb.

“This inaugural scholarship provides students with an opportunity to connect to their culture and with influencers in the Croatian business sector,” said Maria Sentic, ACAP treasurer and Chicago conference chair. “We hope this experience will create a lifetime of memories for them, but more importantly, enable our youth to network with fellow international students and future business mentors.”

The Association of Croatian American Professionals brings together professionals, business leaders, academics, students and community organizers. Our mission is to foster leadership, collaboration and to promote the advancement of issues relevant to the Croatian-American community. ACAP is a non-profit 501c (6). For more information about becoming a member, please visit