Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Two students awarded Vicente Fox Quesada scholarships
By Rebecca Wyatt Thomas, OU Web Writer
Oakland University students Norma Parker and Javier Saucedo have each been awarded the Vicente Fox Quesada Scholarship, which honors the Mexican president and is awarded to Oakland students seeking international study or cross-cultural opportunities in Mexico and to Mexican students who are studying at Oakland.
Created during former President Fox’s visit to Oakland University’s campus, the scholarship was funded by gifts from a number of corporate donors. The primary support was provided by the Chrysler Foundation and Masco Corporation. Other corporate contributors included ArvinMeritor, Butzel Long, Delphi Foundation, Ford Motor Company Fund and Herman Miller.
Norma ParkerParker worked for a company in Mexico where she met her husband, an American. After their wedding, they moved to the United States.
“We said that after two or three years we would go back to Mexico,” Parker said. “Eleven years later, we are still here.”
Parker started attending Oakland University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
“I always wanted to be a teacher,” Parker said, who is majoring in Spanish and minoring in math. In Mexico, she couldn’t afford it and the money her father could contribute she decided to use to take a bilingual program.
Parker is currently doing a field placement at a sixth grade class in Pontiac. Prior to that she worked with second graders in the Brandon School District. She develops lesson plans and gets hands-on experience working with students.
“Seeing a child get excited about something I teach them just makes my day. You’re not going to change the world but just changing one life makes it worth it,” Parker said.
Encouraged by two of her professors, Parker applied for the Vicente Fox Quesada scholarship. Applicants must have a 2.5 GPA and present letters of recommendation.
“The scholarship will help me with tuition, books and child care for my daughters,” said Parker, who has three children ages 10, 4 and 3.
Parker plans to graduate in December 2009.
Saucedo’s family moved to the United States when he was just two months old. They returned to Mexico when he was six and then came back to the United States when he was nine. Heading into fifth grade, Saucedo spoke no English and was expected to keep up with his classmates.
“It was really difficult because I didn’t know one word of English,” Saucedo said.
When he graduated from high school, Saucedo said he didn’t know if he was prepared enough to attend a university. Saucedo is the first in his family to attend college.
“After graduating from high school, I was going to go into the Marines, but my mom suggested I give school a try,” Saucedo said. “There was a lot of pressure on me. My mom wanted to go but she couldn’t. She didn’t accomplish her dream but she wanted me to accomplish mine.”
Saucedo originally intended to major in business and was drawn to Oakland University’s School of Business Administration. After a year at OU, Saucedo changed his major to Spanish. He would like to be a translator for the Federal Bureau of Investigation or a tutor for Spanish-speaking school children.
“Spanish just interests me,” Saucedo said. “Through the Spanish classes, I learn about culture, the structure of grammar and the way culture impacts the language.”
Saucedo said he learned of the Vicente Fox Quesada scholarship after seeing it on the OU Web site. Saucedo said he hopes other Hispanic students looking for scholarships can use this as an opportunity to come to Oakland University.
Saucedo is working to increase diversity at Oakland University. He works with the Center for Multicultural Initiatives and has spread the word around his community about Oakland University and the scholarships available to students.
For more information on OU’s scholarships, see the Scholarships Web page.