Courtesy of Aylin Duarte
UTEP graduate Aylin Duarte was awarded the Fulbright U.S. Student Program’s prestigious award to complete an English Teaching Assistantship in Argentina in Spring 2022.
Duarte, who earned her bachelor’s degree in December 2020 in political science and Spanish literature and language, will teach English to college students in Argentina with round-trip airfare, living stipend and other benefits paid for.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program, funded by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, is the largest U.S. Government-sponsored international educational exchange program. It seeks to strengthen relationships between the U.S. and countries around the world to bolster cooperation towards common goals.
Duarte heard about the program after navigating UTEP’s Office of Student Fellowships and Awards (OSFA), created in 2020 to support students who apply for graduate and undergraduate scholarships and fellowships for graduate study, research, and study abroad.
“OSFA’s goal in the near term is to create a “Fulbright culture” on campus where undergraduate and graduate students are aware of the opportunities that a Fulbright award provides to conduct independent research, teach English, or complete a program of study overseas,” said Melanie Meinzer, Ph.D., director of OSFA. “Over the next few years, the OSFA will increase the number of students who apply for these grants.”
According to Meinzer, the Fulbright program runs on an annual cycle where students apply in the fall and are notified of their status during the spring.
“This past year, half of UTEP’s Fulbright applicants advanced to the semi-finalist stage, and one student (Duarte) has been awarded a Fulbright grant,” Meinzer said.
For Duarte Argentina is ‘the place to be,’ as Fulbright allows recipients to choose any country in the world associated with the program.
“I plan to explore the new policies implemented in Argentina regarding gender violence prevention. In 2015, a new movement was initiated, which has shaped Latin America over a couple of years regarding advances in gender violence prevention and equality,” Duarte said.
The Fulbright program requires applicants to be U.S. citizens, have a 3.0 GPA minimum, communicate in the chosen country’s language and acquire a bachelor’s before the grant would be in place. In addition, the program looks for individuals who believe knowledge, community work, and international connections can create meaningful differences in the world
The award is open to any U.S. graduating college senior, graduate student, young professional and artist from a variety of disciplines who desires to study, conduct research or teach English abroad.
“I completely encourage other students to apply, the process is unforgettable, and they can win a life-changing experience,” Duarte said. “Although it is a highly competitive program, they can participate and gain so much knowledge, but the first step is just to try and open that application, no matter how difficult it may seem.”
Sven Kline may be reached at [email protected]; @SvenKline on Twitter.