Two Trinity Seniors Win Fulbright Awards

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May 15, 2013

Two Trinity Seniors Win Fulbright Awards

The Fulbright grants will allow Marisa Plasencia to research communication technologies for protest movements in Spain while Monica Stanton will teach English to children in Malaysia

Fulbright Award winners Marisa Plasencia and Monica Stanton
Fulbright grant winners Marisa Plasencia (left) and Monica Stanton.

By Russell Guerrero '83

SAN ANTONIO - Trinity University seniors Marisa Plasencia and Monica Stanton have been awarded grants from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program  to pursue opportunities in research and teaching overseas during the next academic year.

Plasencia will use her Fulbright Award to research the impact of information communication technologies and strategies in youth protest activity in Spain.  Stanton received an English Teaching Assistantship Fulbright to teach English to children in Malaysia.

In addition, senior Jacob Uzman has been named an alternate in the Fulbright Program and would research a democracy project in Germany should another Fulbright winner be unable to use their grant.

Plasencia is a first-generation student from San Antonio, who doubled majored in political science and international studies and minored in theatre.  She came to Trinity, along with her twin sister, Maribel, as a Baker-Duncan Scholar and has performed in productions staged by the human communications and theatre department.

For the fall semester of her junior year, Plasencia studied abroad in Spain. "I fell in love with the country and the people here," she said.

When she returned to Trinity for the spring semester, she took European Politics with political science professor Peter O'Brien, who first suggested she apply for a Fulbright grant to return to Spain for further research.  "I thought it was a really great idea. I think I really did need that initial encouragement to get it into my head that I should apply for a Fulbright," she said.

Although the application process was rigorous, Plasencia credits Trinity professors, such as Sarah Pinnock, associate professor of religion and Trinity's Fulbright program adviser, for their support.

"Dr. Pinnock was great throughout all this. She was so knowledgeable about what the Fulbright might be looking for," said Palencia.

Stanton, from Hallsville, Texas, double majored in urban studies and English with a minor in environmental studies.  During her years at Trinity, she has enjoyed opportunities to get involved with the community.

"A lot of my education has been about being involved with the city in general, and most of my extracurricular work has gone on along the same lines," she said. "I really enjoyed my involvement with Alpha Phi Omega, the service fraternity on campus.  That allowed me to work with a lot of different groups in the city and especially with little kids which is what I will be doing in Malaysia."

Among the several projects she participated in were tutoring at a weekly afterschool program on San Antonio's east side and serving as a Sunday school teacher for her downtown church.

She also said professors were an important factor in applying for a Fulbright.

"I had heard about Fulbrights before but I never considered doing it myself until my adviser said it was a great experience and I should seriously consider it," she said.

"Trinity has really been essential in giving me avenues for community involvement and for learning about issues that are important for my experience in Malaysia," she added.

Both women plan to attend graduate school once their Fulbright grants end. Plasencia intends to pursue a doctorate in comparative politics while Stanton plans to study cultural studies in literature for a doctorate in English.

Since 1993, Trinity has had 19 students who have won Fulbright grants. This is also the second year in a row that Trinity has had two winners.

 -Russell Guerrero '83 is the public information officer at Trinity. He can be reached at