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Sophomore Wins Fellowship


UCR Sophomore Wins Five-Year Fellowship

Ernesto Umaña is one of 15 students in the nation recognized by the United Negro College Fund Special Programs Corporation’s Institute for International Public Policy.

(May 26, 2009)

Ernesto UmañaEnlarge

Ernesto Umaña

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Ernesto Umaña, a sophomore at the University of California, Riverside, has won a five-year fellowship from the United Negro College Fund Special Programs Corporation’s Institute for International Public Policy.

Umaña, 18, is from West Los Angeles and is majoring in political science/international affairs. He was one of 15 students selected nationally, one of only two from California, and the only representative of the University of California.

The institute is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the UNCF Special Programs Corporation to provide students from underrepresented minority groups with the education and training necessary for entering and advancing in international affairs, according to Nicholas M. Bassey, IIPP director. The 15-year-old program has placed more than 300 fellows in more than 50 countries to study foreign affairs and global policy.

In June and July Umaña will participate in the Sophomore Summer Policy Institute at Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga., where he will be introduced to the basics of international policy development, foreign affairs, cultural competence, career opportunities, and options for graduate study. He will spend the winter and spring quarters of 2009-10 in Berlin, where he will study German and how the European Union functions. Participants are expected to become fluent in a foreign language, serve an internship related to their field of study, and pursue a master’s degree in international affairs.

“My goal is leave UCR as a global citizen,” said Umaña, the son of immigrants from El Salvador. He is considering a career in politics or as a high school teacher. “I definitely am going to give back to the community in one way or another,” he said. “I believe in the importance of role models. I want to inspire others to be whatever they want to be.”

At UC Riverside Umaña is enrolled in the Honors Program and is co-founder of UCR’s Union Salvadore a de Estudiantes Universitarios (Union of Salvadorian University Students). He was part of a delegation that visited El Salvador in February 2009 to observe preparations for that country’s presidential elections that took place in March. He also handles publicity for the UCR chapter of MEChA, chairs the Lothian (residence hall) Facilities Committee of the Residence Halls Association, and volunteers through the Chicano Student Programs office to speak with elementary, middle and high school students.

“Ernesto strives for excellence in both his academics as well as his personal life, and he serves as a role model to other students,” said Deanna Garrett, Lower Division coordinator in the University Honors Program. “He is very passionate about a career in international affairs and making a difference in the world. Ernesto’s passion for global awareness, education, and change is evident in his leadership and community service on and off campus.”

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The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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