University of Texas at El Paso’s Aylin Duarte | Photos courtesy UTEP

UTEP graduate Aylin Duarte earns Fulbright Award

The University of Texas at El Paso’s Aylin Duarte has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award for an English Teaching Assistantship for the 2021-22 academic year from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Duarte, who graduated from UTEP in December 2020 with bachelor’s degrees in political science and Spanish literature and language, will conduct research, participate in community service and teach in Argentina starting in the spring 2022 semester through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

The award includes round-trip airfare, a living stipend and other benefits.

“The best students at UTEP can compete with the best students anywhere,” said UTEP President Heather Wilson. “Aylin has a bright future ahead of her and I’m really glad that she will have this opportunity.”

In the spring of 2020 UTEP held a scholarship information night that was attended by nearly 900 students. After that evening, UTEP established the Office of Fellowships and Awards to help students like Aylin learn about these opportunities.

“In my experience interviewing students for the Rhodes and Schwarzman Scholarships for more than 30 years, students at public universities think these scholarships are only for rich kids who go to Ivy League schools,” Wilson said. “They’re not. We will encourage our exceptional students to apply like Aylin did. This is only the beginning.”

Wilson, who was the first person in her family to graduate from college, was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 1982 and earned her master’s and doctoral degrees at Oxford University. All expenses for her graduate degrees were paid for by the Rhodes Scholarship.

“This is my next step to greater things,” said Duarte, who graduated from El Paso’s Harmony Science Academy in 2017 and now works there as a reading interventionist. She eventually would like a job in public policy with a focus on women, minorities and the U.S.-Mexico border. “This gives me the motivation I need to keep dreaming.”

Duarte will teach English to college students in Argentina. The El Paso native will meet with Fulbright officials in the fall to learn where she will teach.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered at UTEP through Melanie Meinzer, Ph.D., director of UTEP’s Office of Student Fellowships and Awards. The office was created in 2020 to support students who apply for graduate and undergraduate scholarships and fellowships for graduate study, research and study abroad.

“UTEP has many outstanding students who can compete for – and win – Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards,” Meinzer said. “We are excited for Aylin and know that she will be a great ambassador for the U.S. and for UTEP.”

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected in an open, merit-based competition that considers leadership potential, academic and/or professional achievement, and record of service. The careers of Fulbright alumni are enriched by joining a network of thousands of esteemed alumni, many of whom are leaders in their fields.

Fulbright alumni include 60 Nobel Prize laureates, 88 Pulitzer Prize recipients and 37 who have served as a head of state or government.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to forge lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, counter misunderstandings, and help people and nations work together toward common goals.

Since its establishment in 1946, the Fulbright Program has enabled more than 390,000 dedicated and accomplished students, scholars, artists, teachers and professionals of all backgrounds to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and find solutions to shared international concerns.

The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the program, which operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.

Click here for more information about the Fulbright Program.