04 July 1981


Philip G. Avila USA
Judi Ellen Dash USA
Philip J. García USA
María Luisa Membreño Honduras
Linnet F. Myers USA
María Oliva Argentina
Jane Ragsdale USA
Viviana Rojas Chile
Vicent Tulloch Jamaica
Giuliana Velásquez Peru
Giles E. Wolak USA
  Testimony of Scholarship Winners    

My work in La Nación of Buenos Aires was my dream-job. I loved the enormity of the entire company --a place of brilliant colleagues and a high level of professionalism. I have enough memories and stories to fi ll a volume but space doesn’t allow for that. It was in Buenos Aires that I mastered spoken Spanish. Through my colleagues at La Nación I was introduced to polo, alfajores, all things Gaucho (including mate), and it was in the upstairs dining room that I tasted the best beef.

I learned to appreciate the democracy and freedom of expression we have in the U.S. I almost got arrested (and lost a roll of fi lm) for taking photographs inside a university building.

I left Argentina less than a month before the outbreak of the Falklands War. It was the perfect time to launch a serious career in journalism, but I opted to return to Texas to help manage the family business.

I use my Spanish every day. I employ my journalistic skills on a daily basis, especially writing and organizational skills. I often write letters, newsletters, brochures and other promotional materials, and, from time to time, send articles to magazines and newspapers. Sometimes I’m interviewed and I know exactly what might be interesting to the writer. I am grateful for my scholarship at La Nación and the opportunities offered me by the IAPA.

Under the IAPA scholarship I earned a Master of Arts in Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida in Gainesville. I acquired a lot of experience in researching information, and writing in a style attractive to readers, while at the same time making sure to rigorously check sources.

In addition to professional training by a top-notch faculty (two Pulitzer Prizewinners), learning about another culture, and living with fellow students who came from around the world,I also formed lasting friendships that continue today despite 30 years having passed; I still maintain contact with Lisa Kaplan, my roommate in Gainesville, and Zulay Chirinos, who worked at The Miami Herald when I was training as an intern.

Back in Argentina I worked in Tiempo Argentino before fi nishing a Masters in International Relations at FLACSO. I currently work as editor on the International desk of El Cronista specializing in economic and fi nancial news.

I was seven months pregnant and in the newsroom in Santiago’s La Nación newspaper when my editor handed me the UPI wire stating that I had won an IAPA scholarship. That changed everything. Practicing journalism would forever be linked to my interest in media analysis. I studied for my Master’s in Communications at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada, where I decided to study because the health system would cover my family.

With a grant of U.S. $3,800, the tickets and my savings, I accomplished miracles. Four courses were central to my later academic development: advertising systems, content analysis of newspapers, communication and development and intercultural communication. Once back in Chile I worked for several media companies and began my academic career as assistant professor at the Universidad de Chile, then professor at the Universidad Diego Portales, where I stayed until 1997 when I was accepted into the Ph.D journalism program at the University of Texas, Austin. In 2002 I began working as an assistant professor of communications at the University of Texas in San Antonio, then was promoted to associate professor. Today I teach international and intercultural communications, communication and media theory, and various other courses related to fi lm and international issues. I publish and do research in these same areas.

Thousands of students have passed through my courses in Chile and Texas, and I am very proud to open the world to them as it was opened for me --the daughter of a housekeeper and an auto mechanic who never fi nished elementary school. Thank you, IAPA, for contributing to my educational capital and defi ning a new life-path for my family.