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Posse Scholar Wins Fulbright
Dean of the College Kent Trachte with Fulbright Scholar Maribel Vasquez '09
Vasquez said the support of her fellow Posse scholars gave her the drive she needed to achieve. Surrounding Vasquez are (from left to right) Dorinda Foster '09, Kathryn Downes '09, Shantel Smart '09, Alita Morales '09 and Haytham Zohny '09.
In 2005 Maribel Vasquez ’09 came to Franklin & Marshall as a member of the College’s first Posse class.
She leaves as a Fulbright Scholar.
“To me it is an honor to be a Posse Scholar. I want F&M to know that its investment in Posse is a good one. To leave F&M with this Fulbright is my thank-you to the College,” Vasquez said.
The Posse Foundation identifies students of promise from urban public high schools to form socio-economically diverse teams called “posses.” The College’s first Posse will graduate in May.
Vasquez has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship grant to teach in Venezuela and be a cultural ambassador for the United States.
The Fulbright is a prestigious international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
“I am proud of Maribel,” said Dean of the College Kent Trachte. “She is an extraordinary young woman motivated by a passionate commitment to improving the lives of others. It’s also exciting that a member of Posse has earned this distinguished award, and the honor also speaks to the value of the College’s association with the Posse Foundation.”
This summer, during the months of June and July, Vasquez will be in Europe as a Humanity in Action Summer Fellow studying human rights, diversity and minority issues. She received word of her fellowship the same day she learned she won the Fulbright, on March 23, which also happened to be her 22nd birthday.
Vasquez grew up in the south Bronx in New York City.
“I’m a first-generation American and will be the first person in my family to graduate from college. I still can’t believe this is happening to me,” she said.
Vasquez remembers the day she learned she would be going to college. She asked Posse Foundation founder Deborah Bial what she should do next.
Bial told her, “Do good.”
Vasquez has done just that, becoming a student leader at Franklin & Marshall. She is a government major, specializing her studies in development and minority rights issues.
She has spent two semesters abroad, in Bolivia during fall 2007 and in Uganda during spring 2008. She currently serves as a study abroad ambassador promoting the College’s study-abroad opportunities.
Vasquez added she would never have been able to achieve what she has achieved if not for Posse.
“Posse made it possible for me to attend F&M,” Vasquez said. “I owe this Fulbright to Posse and Franklin & Marshall.”
There have been nine Fulbright Scholars from Franklin & Marshall over the past decade:
Katherine Hennessey ’98
James T. Moskowitz ’98
Cynthia Garner ’01
Richard March III, ’02
Ellen Frierson ’03
Jayme Margolin ’03
Christina Arlt ’05
John Diffley ’06
Rachel Ward LaForgia ’06