Fourth Member of Trinity’s Class of ’09 Wins Fulbright Grant

Melody Mendoza Selected to Teach English in Colombia

​Hartford, Conn. – A fourth member of the Class of ’09, Melody Mendoza of Wharton, N.J., has been awarded a grant from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, which will enable her to be an English Teaching Assistant in Colombia, beginning in August.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international education program of the U.S. government. Altogether, 16 students from Trinity applied this year and five were chosen, including Jacqueline Kahan ’08, of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Mendoza, who was originally an alternate, was notified about two weeks ago that she had been selected to participate in the 10-month program. At Trinity, Mendoza co-majored in international studies, with a concentration in Latin America and the Caribbean, and Hispanic Studies.

“This is really something that I wanted to do,” said Mendoza. “I feel so honored. It’s such a blessing.”

Mendoza will undergo training in Bogota and then work at the Universidad de La Guajira on Colombia’s northern peninsula.

The other members of the Class of ’09 who were accepted into the Fulbright Program are Christina Seda of Bronx, N.Y., who is conducting research in Chile on a Fulbright Full Grant in comparative education and education policy; and Mark Montini of Derby, CT, and Daniel Newman of Katonah, N.Y., who were also awarded English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) Grants. In addition, Kahan was given an ETA and, like Mendoza, will be going to Colombia. Montini is headed for Andorra and Newman for Russia.

Of the 16 Trinity applicants, Corazon Irizarry ’09, of Bethlehem, PA was named an alternate for an ETA Grant and Griha Singla ’09, of Ellicott City, MD, was a finalist for an exceptionally competitive research grant to the European Union. Irizarry is interested in teaching in Venezuala.

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 by Congress to “enable the government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”

In 2008, the program awarded approximately 6,000 grants at a cost of more than $275 million. The grants went to U.S. students, teachers, professionals, and scholars to study, teach, and conduct research in more than 155 countries, and to their foreign counterparts to engage in similar activities in the United States.

The Fulbright Program receives most of its funding through an annual appropriation from Congress to the Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions in foreign countries and in the United States also contribute financially through cost-sharing and indirect support, such as salary supplements, tuition waivers, and university housing.