Semi-Finalists from WT Named for Fulbright Student Program

March 1, 2019

CONTACT: Laura Seals, 806-651-2587,

COPY BY: Brittany Castillo, 806-651-2682,

Semi-Finalists From WT Named for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program

CANYON, Texas—Two out of five applicants from West Texas A&M University have advanced to the next round of the selection process for the highly regarded Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program (ETA). Rigoberto Baeza, a senior business major, and Rogelio Onofre, a recent political science graduate, have been named Fulbright semi-finalists.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program, an international exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government designed to increase mutual understanding among citizens of different countries, provides opportunities for selected applicants to meet, work, live and learn with people of a foreign host country in a multi-month experience supported by grants through the ETA.

Baeza selected Timor-Leste, a Southeast Asian nation northwest of Australia, for a proposal based on community engagement by working with young athletes through a Sport for Life program while also assisting job and business skills to young Timorese residents.

Onofre selected Morocco, a North African country bordering the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, where he previously studied as a Gilman Scholar. His proposed plans include sharing holiday traditions of both the U.S. and Mexico with his hosts in addition to teaching English and improving his Arabic language skills.

In addition to the two selected semi-finalists were three impressive applicants for placement in South Korea - Sara Koepp, Madison Monday and Kayla Steffens. Each applicant completed a lengthy submission that includes a written statement about themselves and intentions for connecting with the local community in the host country.

“I am very proud of the students who applied for the Fulbright Student Award. Last fall, five applicants applied, which is the most in WT’s history,” Laura Seals, director for nationally competitive scholarships at WT, said.

“Applying for this award is a tough process that includes a lot of writing and revising essays, as well as a committee interview. Each student worked hard on their application and implemented continuous feedback to make their materials better. The Fulbright program is highly competitive, and it is a great accomplishment to have completed the application. I’m so glad we have students here who will take on the challenge of a tough application in the midst of a busy fall semester.”

Fulbright applications were reviewed in December, and submissions for Baeza and Onofre passed to the next round of consideration by their chosen host countries. Final selections will be made in the following months.

About the Fulbright Program

The flagship international program sponsored by the U.S. government is designed to increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and people of other countries. Participating governments and host institutions provide support to recipients of Fulbright grants, who are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program is funded by an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.



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