UIW Students Receive $50,000 in Study-Abroad Scholarships
In July, three prestigious international awards were granted to UIW students.
Bradley Ahrens from Sulphur, LA, Cecilia Morgado from Fredericksburg, Texas and David Perez from Victoria, Texas were each awarded an opportunity of a lifetime when they were selected by three world renowned scholarship foundations to spend the upcoming school year studying abroad.
Ahrens, a sophomore majoring in International Business, was awarded the National Security Education Program (NSEP) David L. Boren Scholarship. The $20,000 scholarship will allow Ahrens to study at Charles University in the Czech Republic.
The NSEP was established by Congress in the aftermath of the Cold War to address the national security education needs of the United States. The organization provides outstanding and highly motivated U.S. students with the necessary resources and encouragement to study abroad and acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to the future security of our nation, in exchange for a commitment to seek work in the federal government.
This year the NSEP awarded a total of 130 undergraduate student scholarships. The scholarship winners will study in 31 countries.
Morgado, a junior International Business major, received $5,000 from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. The Gilman scholarship aims to support students who have been traditionally underrepresented in study-abroad programs, including but not limited to, students with high financial need, community college students, students in underrepresented fields such as the sciences and engineering, students with diverse ethnic backgrounds, students with disabilities, and students of non-traditional age.
Morgado will study at Schiller International University in Heidelberg, Germany.
The final UIW scholarship recipient is David Perez, who received the Rotary International Ambassador Scholarship of $25,000.
The Rotary International scholarship program aims to further international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries. The program sponsors several types of scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students as well as qualified professionals pursuing vocational studies.
Nearly 37,000 people from 100 nations have studied abroad under the program since 1947. Today it is the world's largest privately funded international scholarship program.
Perez, a junior Music Therapy Major, will study indigenous cultures and music therapy in Australia.
Priceless,” the familiar tagline of MasterCard, can be heard daily on television sets nationwide. For the fourth consecutive year, the company offered three lucky students the opportunity of a lifetime: internships in the film, music and sports industries through the 2005 Priceless Internship experience, whose theme was, “getting ahead of the game: priceless.”
This year one of those lucky students who ventured to Hollywood, Ca. was from the University of the Incarnate Word. UIW communications student Amanda Burton answered the call she heard on her television set offering the chance of a lifetime.
Burton, along with over 40,000 students nationwide, sent a 250-word essay answering a question in line with her field of interest; in her case, “If you were to plan your ideal career in the film business, what would it be & why?”
In mid-April Burton received notification that she was one of 36 semifinalists in her field (36 were chosen for each of the three fields for a total of 108 semifinalists). She was then asked to submit a two-minute video describing her favorite film moment.
Burton's video began with a background on herself followed by her favorite film moment, the scene from Charlie Chaplin's, 1925 classic, “The Gold Rush,” where he performs the famous “dance of the rolls.”
The internship gave students an opportunity to obtain experience in industries known for their exclusivity. The three opportunities included working on tour with a band; experience in filmmaking; and working for Major League Baseball. Burton's five-week internship paired her with six other students to create a film and then screen that film for industry executives.
“The entire experience was wonderful,” says Burton. “I was sad to leave. I can't explain how awesome it was to get to work on the backlot of Universal Studios. So many great films have been made there and to shoot on the same sets that films like “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and “The Scorpion King” gave me a sense of accomplishment.”
Christopher Mora, a UIW senior, was awarded the William G. McGowan scholarship for the 2005-2006 academic year.
The prestigious scholarship, awarded by the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, will provide over $16,000 in tuition for Mora during his senior year. Mora, who transferred to UIW after serving as a paratrooper in the United States Army, is majoring in business.
The McGowan scholarship recognizes the academic achievements and excellence of students pursuing a major offered by an accredited business school. It is designed to encourage leadership ability, interpersonal skills, and a significant involvement in academic, campus and community activities. The scholarship program also recognizes an excellence of character, a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurial potential.
The scholarship is named in honor of William G. McGowan, who founded the MCI Communications Corporation in 1968. McGowan led MCI and the communications industry in the creation of new technology, innovative services, and the introduction of competition in a previously monopolistic industry until his death in 1992.
The McGowan scholarship is awarded once a year to an undergraduate or graduate student in each participating school chosen by the foundation. In order to be eligible for the scholarship, all candidates must have a GPA of a 3.0 or higher, they must be a business major and also be a U.S. citizen.
If they meet the initial requirements, students are then asked to submit three letters of recommendation from faculty or staff members from their college or university and submit an essay detailing the life and legacy of McGowan and how his vision is comparable to their own.
Mora wrote in his essay about McGowan that, “At the heart of every vision, every philosophy, there is a road traveled, which gives birth to its creation. McGowan lived such an admirable life that gave birth to such a remarkable vision; his efforts enabled the transformation of the phone service industry for the entire country and possibly the world.”
After graduation, Mora wants to attend law school so that he may pursue a law career within the federal government.
Kathy Vargas, chair of the UIW Arts Department, received a great honor in Austin in May when she attended the State Legislative Session and was appointed Texas State Two-Dimensional Artist by the Texas Commission on the Arts.
The position was one of four created by SB 1043 of the 77th Legislature to be filled by outstanding artists selected for years of excellence and dedication to the arts in Texas. The four positions are state poet laureate, state musician, state two-dimensional artist and state three-dimensional artist.
Vargas, who has exhibited her photography across the United States, Latin America and Russia, picked up her first camera at the age of five (a picky eater as a child, Vargas says her mother used the camera as a reward to coax her into eating). Vargas captured the world around her with the plastic camera, known as a Diana Camera, until she wore it out. She didn't pick up another camera until she was 20, filling the years in between with painting, drawing and by associating with professional artists.
“Actually I was hanging out with professional artists when I was 14 or 15,” Vargas says. “It was interesting because it was the very beginning of the Chicano Art Movement and so there were artists who looked like me who were opening galleries, so it was a good place for kids to hang out.”
Since resuming her role as a photographic artist, Vargas' work has reached distant places through a combination of a little luck and a lot of talent.
“I've been lucky to have met a lot of curators and critics and they have been very kind and very responsive to my work,” she adds.
Vargas feels it is the responsibility of established artists to help promote the work of young artists, a task she has embraced during her five years at UIW by encouraging her students to work hard and develop their skills as artists. Semester after semester, she is constantly amazed by the talents and achievements of her students. As no doubt they probably are with hers.
UIW has added six members to the University's Board of Trustees: Renee Benson, Crystal Campos, Jay Clingman, Dr. Gary Norgan, John Peveto and Emily Denman Thuss.
In partnership with the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, WOAI TV and Telemundo, UIW hosted a debate in June between then San Antonio mayoral runoff candidates Phil Hardberger and Julian Castro.
The event, held in the UIW Coates Theater, attracted more than 150 people to the live audience and thousands more through live broadcasts on both WOAI TV and Telemundo, which aired the debate in place of their normal 6 p.m. newscasts. Among the notable guests in the audience were business mogul B.J. “Red” McCombs, Texas State Representative Joaquin Castro and Greater Chamber President and CEO Joe Krier.
The format of the hour-long debate was non-traditional, opening with the opportunity for candidates to ask questions of each other. Questions submitted online to WOAI TV throughout the previous week were also introduced and several pre-selected members of the studio audience were allowed to ask questions. WOAI TV anchor Randy Beamer and Clear Channel radio personality Jeff Bolton served as mediators of the event.
In the runoff election several days later, Hardberger narrowly defeated Castro.
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