Villanovans Awarded Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Courtesy of Jane Morris. Several Villanovans recently have been awarded nationally competitive scholarships. The recognition these students have received through the receipt of these prestigious awards serves as a testament to their outstanding intellectual performance and the excellence of the University's academic programs, particularly the international programs that focus on critical languages In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

Jerisa Upton ’14, a Presidential Scholar and Critical Language Scholar has been selected as a 2012 Boren Scholar to study abroad in China through CIEE's Advanced Chinese Studies Program at Peking University during the 2013 spring semester. Jerisa is a Global Interdisciplinary Studies and Honors major with a minor in Chinese Studies. Jerisa began her study of Chinese independently through self study in seventh grade and tested into Advanced Chinese as a freshman at Villanova. Receiving the Critical Language Scholarship as a freshman, Jerisa has demonstrated her commitment to intensive language study and understanding Chinese culture, politics and beliefs through full immersion. After graduation, Jerisa plans to return to China for a master's program in International Affairs at Peking University in Beijing.  She is committed to a lifelong career in fostering strong Sino-American Relations through a government position as a diplomat or political analyst.

Freshman Matthew Thorp, '15, received a full scholarship to the Critical Languages Institute through the Critical Language Scholarship Program and  Project GO, the ROTC language and culture program, to study Tatar language in Kazan, Russia, this summer. Matt is an engineering student who spent the 2010-11 academic year at Kazan State University. He plans to pursue a concentration in Russian Area Studies as well.

Theresa Donohoe’12, a Presidential Scholar and an English major, is the recipient of the French Government English Teaching Assistantship. An Honors and Francophone Studies major, Theresa plans to pursue a career in academia in Linguistics.

In addition, five Villanova students have been selected as 2012-2013 Fulbright Scholars.

Nathan Haag ’08 (B.S., Biology) ‘11 (M.S. Biology) was named an alternate for the Fulbright Full Grant to New Zealand.

Monica Mazzoli ’11  was awarded a 2012-2013 Fulbright Full Grant to the United Kingdom where she will be completing a M.A. in Renaissance Literature at the University of York. Monica graduated summa cum laude in 2011 with a B.A. in English and was named a 2011 Falvey Scholar for her research on the work of a little known Reformist poet: Lucy Hutchinson. While at Villanova, she was a member of the Student Government Association and volunteered as a Career Advisor at the Career Center and a tutor at a local high school.  Since graduation, she has worked for Patient Relations at Duke University Medical Center and continued her volunteer activities as a mentor for the Wake County Boys and Girls Club. While at the University of York, Monica plans to take forward her research on the works of lesser known early modern female writers and hopes to begin a Ph.D. in English when she returns to the United States. 

John Rafferty ’12 (J.D.) was awarded a 2012-2013 Fulbright Full Grant to Ecuador to research the causes of and partnerships working to combat human trafficking. John completed studies in Philosophy and Spanish at Boston College.  After graduating, he worked in Japan, California, and Bahrain as commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy. In Bahrain, he served as the Assistant General Secretary for the Migrant Workers Protection Society, which addressed the housing needs of Bahrain's large migrant workforce and advocated for female victims of labor trafficking. John received a full scholarship to enable his future practice in the area of international human rights from the faculty of law at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. Since he returned to the United States, John has engaged in advocacy for stronger anti-trafficking policies in his home country as well as in Latin America. He has successfully argued for political asylum for three Honduran victims of domestic violence before the US Immigration Court.  As a legal assistant to the Anti-Trafficking Division of IOM's Mission in Quito, John helped implement regional and national anti-trafficking initiatives, including training of community leaders in five Ecuadorian provinces.  He has organized two mobile legal clinics for latino migrants unserved by existing resources. He has worked with trafficking victims in Mexico and Washington, D.C., and conducted extensive research as a Senior Policy and Legal Fellow with the Polaris Project. He has has helped to design an interdisciplinary graduate course at Villanova that will bring together medical, legal and communications specialists to integrate anti-trafficking practices into the medical community of Philadelphia. John has presented to various organizations on effective strategies for anti-trafficking advocates as well as the impact of current immigration policy on latino migrants. Through his work with the Philadelphia Anti-Trafficking Coalition, he is working to create a diversionary program for individuals who patronize prostitutes, commonly known as a John School. When he returns from his Fulbright year, he will begin a post-graduate legal fellowship with Friends of Farmworkers, Inc., with whom he'll provide representation to low-wage victims of labor trafficking in agricultural sectors throughout Pennsylvania. 

Christopher Muyo ‘ 10 was awarded a 2012-2013 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship  to Malaysia. A 2010 Honors graduate of Villanova with a degree in English, Christopher Muyo was selected to pursue graduate training in Education while serving as a teacher in a New England high school through the Providence Alliance for Catholic Teachers program at Providence College in Rhode Island. Christopher has had a number of international experiences having studied and worked in an international marketing project that took him to Beijing for the Olympic Games. After his Fulbright year, Christopher intends to rejoin the teaching force and plans to enroll in a graduate program in Public Policy, Educational Policy and Leadership, or English Literature.

Weddy Worjroh ’12, a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholar and Truman Finalist, was awarded a 2012-2013 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to Argentina. She is a Global Interdisciplinary Studies and Sociology major with minors in Peace and Justice and Spanish. As a Gilman scholar her sophomore year, she conducted research in Granada, Spain, focused on the integration of immigrants, while also serving as a Spanish teacher to recent immigrants in Spain. Weddy has interned at the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians where she worked as a tutor, assisting English language learners to prepare for entering the workforce. This past summer she volunteered as a Civic Engagement Intern for the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition. On campus, she is involved with Amendment One, Amnesty International, and CRS Ambassadors Immigration. She currently is a co-producer for Villanova’s Social Justice Documentary film Out of the Shadows, which shares the story of a young undocumented student activist in Pennsylvania. Weddy is also a member of the honor societies Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi. She intends to pursue a JD/MSW degree and continue to advocate for the rights of immigrants, aspiring to one day open her own non-profit organization that would provide legal services, an ESL program and an innovative space to foster dialogue between both immigrants and natives. As a Fulbright ETA in Argentina, she will be working at an English Teacher Training College in one of the Argentine provinces. She also plans to volunteer at a worker’s rights organization to learn more about labor practices in Argentina.

Hana Lee ’12, was awarded a 2012-2013 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to South Korea. An Education and Math major, Hana is also the recipient of the Villanova Scholarship and the Luckow Family Scholarship, which is awarded by Villanova's Education department, for her high academic achievement and community involvement.  As a leader in the Korean Students Association, Hana shares her love for Korean culture and traditions with the Villanova community by organizing Korean cultural events throughout the year. Hana is also committed to working with inner-city students, helping them to realize their potential. Through the English Teaching Assistantship, Hana plans to grow in her knowledge of Korean culture and foreign educational systems, policies, and philosophies to enable her to become a culturally competent and effective teacher in the inner city in the U.S. Upon returning to the United States, Hana plan to teach mathematics at an inner-city high school and pursue a master's degree in Education or Mathematics.