Thursday, January 4, 2024

Record five UTSA students selected to Fulbright Student Program

Record five UTSA students selected to Fulbright Student Program

MAY 31, 2023 — Five UTSA students have been named finalists by the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the largest number of UTSA students selected to participate in the program. The recent graduates will travel abroad for up to 12 months during the 2023-2024 academic year to either teach English or pursue graduate education.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between Americans and people in other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected based on their academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates more than 160 countries worldwide.

“Across UTSA, our collective commitment to internationalization and global learning demonstrates that, as a premier public research university, we provide access to educational excellence and prepare citizen leaders for the global environment,” said Lisa J. Montoya, UTSA’s vice provost for global initiatives and senior international officer. “I am so impressed with this year’s student Fulbright recipients and their

In 2022, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs named UTSA a Fulbright Hispanic Serving Institution Leader, which recognized the university’s noteworthy participation across Fulbright programs for students, faculty and administrators.

Participation across Fulbright programs has steadily grown at UTSA since 2019. The UTSA Office of Nationally Competitive Awards advises students in spring and summer ahead of the September 1 deadline.

Director of the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards and Fulbright Program Advisor, Andrew Chapman, encourages more students to consider Fulbright.

“In the past four years, UTSA students have shown that they can win these awards,” said Chapman. “Our students consistently demonstrate the value of their education from UTSA, which might include outside-of-the-classroom experiences like study abroad and service learning in their local communities. When paired together with life experience that many of our students have growing up in bilingual, multicultural communities, they are absolutely ready to participate in a program like Fulbright.”

Paula Canales ’18, BA. ’22, M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language

Fulbright English teaching assistant award in Bahrain  

Canales is a two-time graduate of UTSA where she most recently earned her master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), an interdisciplinary program in the College of Education and Human Development that prepares students to teach English to children or adults in schools and community programs. Canales taught English through Woodland Baptist Church’s ESL program. Having formed close relationships at UTSA with international students from the Persian Gulf, she chose Bahrain as her destination for her Fulbright. After completing Fulbright work, she hopes to enter a doctoral program to research developing practices that benefit and advocate for refugee populations in the United States.

Madeline Morales ’23, B.S. in environmental science

Fulbright study award in Sweden 

A member of the UTSA Top Scholar program within the Honors College, Morales is interested in how Sweden serves as a model for progressive sustainable policies and practices. She will travel to Sweden to study and conduct research at Umeå University. As a UTSA student, Morales worked in the Office of Sustainability and served as Sustainability Council Student Representative. She cofounded a student-led climate change action group at UTSA, Plant the Future, which has planted hundreds of trees throughout San Antonio. She also took part in the National Hispanic Environmental Council STEM Institute, which included a 10-day research trip in New Mexico for underrepresented students in Environmental Science.

Eliesha Perez ’23, B.A. in Global Affairs

Fulbright English teaching assistant award in Thailand 

Perez is an Honors College student who has dedicated her efforts to several service projects in San Antonio and Dallas communities over the last three years. She volunteered for two summers with AmeriCorps at Heart House in Dallas, an education non-profit serving refugee children. She also created a pen-pals program that linked students from Edgewood ISD to UTSA students so that they could learn about pathways to college. Perez hopes that spending almost a year in Thailand will prepare her for a career working at a non-profit organization that focuses on international development and disadvantaged youth education.

⇒ Visit the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards Fulbright Student Program webpage for more information.
⇒ Learn more about the UTSA Honors College.
⇒ Explore UTSA’s Global Gateway.

Joshua Perez ’20, B.A. ’22 M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language

Fulbright English teaching assistant award in Turkey

Perez earned his bachelor’s degree at UTSA in English with a minor in Russian before completing his master’s degree in TESL along with a graduate certificate in linguistics. During his undergraduate and graduate degrees, Perez studied abroad in Russia and Mexico. Like Canales, Perez volunteered as an ESL teacher at Woodland Baptist Church. As a Fulbright recipient, he will teach English in Turkey, having connected with Turkish students during his Russian language learning. He has participated in a virtual exchange experience with teaching candidates from Texas and Bolu, Turkey, and wants to work with UNESCO's education branch to address gender inequality in education on a global scale.

Axa Soria ‘23 B.A. in Spanish

Fulbright English teaching assistant award in Mexico

Soria, an Honors College student, spent significant time volunteering in her local community as part of her Honors curriculum requirements. She volunteered in a bilingual theater group, Teatro Audaz, as a stage manager. She also served as a Bible study instructor at her local church. Soria will travel to Mexico to teach English. After she returns to the U.S., she plans to work as a medical interpreter in San Antonio.

Andrew Chapman and KC Gonzalez

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University of Texas at San Antonio receives ‘transformational’ $40M gift

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