MPOWER Financing and InternationalStudent.com are excited to announce the winners of their Central America Scholarship Program! This scholarship stems from a passion to support hard-working and talented students from Central America. Our friends at InternationalStudent.com are especially dedicated to expanding access to education for Central American students. “Our organization has partnered with School the World for the past three years, and it’s been wonderful to have an impact on the education of so many children in their early years of learning. This scholarship has allowed us to branch out and also assist in making education more accessible to those who are further along in their educational journey—which is very exciting,” Bryanna Davis said. “It’s our true honor to be able to assist such promising individuals. We couldn’t be more impressed by the accomplishments that these future leaders have already achieved—we know they have great things ahead of them.”
The MPOWER/InternationalStudent.com Central America Scholarship Program provides scholarships to students who have a proven history of engagement and effectiveness in creating opportunity and improving quality of life in their home country. The following winners demonstrated great potential to advocate for and empower marginalized communities within the U.S. Central American community. Both of our teams were impressed by the accomplishments of these outstanding individuals!
Natalie Fahsen Paetau, Advocate for Health Equity in Low-Income Countries
Grand Prize Winner; Guatemala, Georgetown University
Natalie is a master’s student at Georgetown University, pursuing a degree in Global Health. Her scholarship essay conveyed her immense amount of both experience and passion for public health. As the research director of FUNDEGUA, a sustainable development organization in Guatemala, Natalie convened a patient safety symposium with the Guatemala Ministry of Health and Duke University. The symposium, “focused on reducing medical errors and improving healthcare quality across the National Health System,” she wrote.
One of Natalie’s accomplishments she is most proud of from her time as director of FUNDEGUA is a STEM program for 400 Guatemalan students. “I organized culturally-sensitive, evidence-based health and development programs implemented by foreign and national researchers,” she wrote. This innovative STEM program, “empowered students from low-resource schools to use design thinking to address community health needs.”
“I am genuinely honored to have been awarded the InternationalStudent.com/MPOWER Central America Scholarship. This support will allow me to continue to receive an outstanding education at Georgetown University, as it reduces the financial pressure placed on my graduate degree.” Natalie said. “I am committed to strengthening health care systems around the world in order to achieve health equity within and between countries. This scholarship will allow me to fulfill this vision because it brings me one step closer to reaching my fullest academic and professional potential. I cannot thank you enough for your investment in my future.”
Reynaldo Pena, Researcher and Microlender to Farmers in El Salvador
Honorable Mention; El Salvador, Georgia Institute of Technology
Reynaldo, a student from El Salvador, is pursuing a Master of Data Analytics from Georgia Tech. Reynaldo first discovered his passion for microlending in 2013 when he interned with a Salvadoran bank providing agricultural loans in rural communities. This experience enlightened him to the vast socio-economic disparities many farmers face in El Salvador. In his essay, he wrote, “There, I first learned that eighty dollars in financing could make or break a farmer’s seasonal produce,” an exorbitant rate to charge small farmers.
Reynaldo then teamed up with Amherst College to teach Salvadoran farmers more efficient farming and cooking techniques. “From these courses, farmers would learn to better manage resources and become less dependent on high cost loans,” he explained in his essay. After finishing his degree at Georgia Tech, Reynaldo plans to start a social enterprise to provide lower-cost, risk-based loans to small farmers in El Salvador.
“Winning this scholarship means facilitating my journey in using my data analytics education to empower the people in my home country of El Salvador.” Reynaldo said.
Cindy Marin, Co-Founder of Sustainable Personal Care Product Company
Honorable Mention; Nicaragua, Hult International Business School Boston
Cindy is a Master of International Marketing student at Hult. She is from Nicaragua, and strongly campaigned for the potential of her home country in her scholarship essay. Cindy is the co-founder of Arte Natural, a personal care product company. Arte Natural involves ten families that make handmade sustainable personal care products. This aspect is important to Cindy, as she explained in her essay, “I would like to use this platform to create more jobs and empower local producers,” she wrote.
Passionate about sustainable entrepreneurship, Cindy hopes to start her own e-commerce site to sell these natural soap products and use her International Marketing degree to grow and scale business. “I would love to innovate and challenge the marketing industry in Central America,” she wrote.
“I would like to thank MPOWER for this award, which will contribute to completing my postgraduate education,” Cindy said, “I am receiving it on behalf of the millions of Central American young women for whom access to higher education still remains a privilege.”
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