UNT student Marcelo Ostria has received a $25,000 Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship for study abroad during the 2010-11 academic year. Three other current UNT students and one recent graduate were named alternates in the competition.
Ostria, a senior international studies and political science major from Flower Mound, will use his scholarship to study in Santiago, Chile. He is the son of Adenie Ostria of Flower Mound and Marcelo Ostria Trigo of La Paz, Bolivia.
Ostria, an Honors College student who will receive his bachelor's degree from UNT in May, says he plans to enroll in graduate-level courses at the Universidad Alberto Hurtado in Santiago to prepare for a career with the State Department. He wants to conduct research on the relationship between poverty and social conflict in Chile and other South American nations.
The president of the UNT chapter of UNICEF, Ostria successfully led UNT students in contributing funds to the Help Us Save Some Lives Campus Challenge during the spring 2009 semester. The challenge was set by UNICEF, the Association of College Unions International and the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF, with a goal of raising $150,000 to provide assistance to children in Darfur, Sudan.
Under Ostria's leadership, UNT students contributed more than $4,000 to the Campus Challenge, raising more funds than students from any other college or university. The George Harrison Foundation matched all the funds the UNT students raised.
James Duban, director of UNT's Office for Nationally Competitive Scholarships and chair of UNT's Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship Mentoring Committee, called Ostria "a young man with an international outlook and conscience."
"His work on behalf of UNICEF, much of which is aimed at the eradication of exploited children throughout the world, is essential and inspiring. Rotary International has recognized Marcelo's excellence and, in the process, the University of North Texas for its cultivation of such extraordinary students," Duban says.
Duban and other committee members help to recruit the students for the scholarships and prepare them for the scholarships' interviews. Committee members include Ishmael Bustinza, retired assistant professor of foreign languages and literatures; Mary Beth Butler, director of the Center for Global Learning & Experience; Dr. Gloria Cox, dean of the UNT Honors College; Dr. Diana Elrod, director of UNT's Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Program; and Dr. Arthur Gionet, professor emeritus of foreign languages and literatures.
After completing his Rotary study abroad program, Ostria plans to earn a law degree with an international focus or a doctoral degree in international affairs. He says he may also join the Peace Corps or another program "that will facilitate my participating in personal diplomacy and good will internationally."
Students selected as alternates for Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships will receive the scholarships should any of the awardees in their districts be unable to fulfill their duties as Ambassadorial Scholars. Duban says the three UNT students and one recent graduate who were selected as alternates for Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships achieved a significant honor.
The alternates from UNT are:
- Juan Facio, a May 2009 graduate from Garland who received a bachelor of fine arts degree in communication design and is now working in the Dallas office of Tribal DDB, an interactive advertising agency.
- T. Lane Ingram, a master's student in counseling from Keller.
- Ursula Johnson, a doctoral student in education research from Houston.
- Samuel Muwanguzi, a doctoral student in information sciences from Denton.
Nancy Kolsti with UNT News Service can be reached at Nancy.Kolsti@unt.edu.