WASHINGTON, PA (Dec. 14, 2012)—Two Washington & Jefferson College graduates are continuing their studies while advancing world understanding, goodwill and peace as Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial scholars.
Nicole Gable '10 has been in Uruguay, pursuing a master's degree in Latin American studies at La Universidad de Montevideo. William Winters '09 is attending the University of Antioquia in Medellin, Colombia, where he was accepted into the master’s program in the field of international development.
It was the second time Gable and Winters applied for the scholarship, both working hard to refine their applications while focusing on their experiences at W&J. Both were part of service clubs as undergraduate students and studied abroad while at W&J. Each worked in W&J’s Office of Global Education.
“So far, my time here has been full of exciting and interesting opportunities," Gable said. "My host Rotary club is phenomenal and I attend their meetings on a weekly basis. I can't seem to thank them enough for caring about me as much as they do. It's a tremendous feeling to know that I'm so well cared about even when I'm 5,000 miles away from my family and friends. For me, that's the best way I can describe what Rotary means."
Winters added, “I think those pieces of our recent lives are what really allowed us to be solid candidates for this scholarship. We eat, breathe and sleep anything to do with study abroad and international experiences.”
Since becoming president at W&J, Tori Haring-Smith, Ph.D., has encouraged the growth of the College’s global involvement, increasing the number of study abroad programs from four to 40 and establishing programs for international students at W&J. Sixty-eight percent of W&J students study abroad each year.
“W&J students can compete for these international and extremely competitive and prestigious scholarships. These Rotarians are interested in seeing the best and the brightest represent them abroad,” said H.J. Manzari, Ph.D., associate professor of Spanish at W&J. “This scholarship is very prestigious.”
Winters will be participating in a year-long program while in South America. “As scholars, we are encouraged to choose a field of study that will address major human needs, such as disease prevention, maternal and child health, and economic and community development," Winters said. "I will establish a relationship with the local Rotary club and do some community service with them. I will also try to develop my own independent service project, all the while going to school and being an ambassador of good will towards my fellow residents in Medellin."
Gable is helping to teach English with a “wonderful volunteer organization” called, Un Techo Para Mi Pais, (“A Roof For My Country”),” which exists all through Latin America to help fight poverty and build acceptable housing, with help from the residents themselves, in some of the regions poorest communities.
“Many jobs here require English, and most of our students say that they will have better prospects upon completing the classes. In the neighborhood where I help, we have ten students who range in age from 19 to 60, but they are all united by real curiosity and genuine appreciation for our help,” Gable said. “I'm in the process of looking for other opportunities and finding a way to implement my own project, another part of the scholarship, that will be of lasting good to the people, even after I've left Uruguay.”
An applicant for a Rotary Foundation scholarship must submit three essays, including a brief autobiography and a summary of interests and activities. The main essay is a detailed statement of intent, which includes the applicant’s reason for applying, proposed field of study, and proposed community service project. An applicant also must demonstrate language ability for to study in countries where the native language is different from his or her own.
Applicants must receive the endorsement of their local Rotary club. Once the endorsement is received, the applicant can send all materials to the district level. The district committee then interviews all prospective applicants. The applicants who are successful in the interviews will continue to a national committee for a final approval.