Spring 2013 Scholarship Winner: Adriana Pulido

Adriana Pulido from Colombia studying at the University of Florida is the winner of the International Student Voice Magazine scholarship sponsored by International Student Protection!

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Adriana will receive a $750(US) scholarship to help her with her academic studies.

The ISV Magazine staff read through almost 300 scholarship applications and narrowed down the search to 12 finalists from both the United States and Canada.

Students had to write an essay answering the following question: “How will studying in another country help you achieve your career goal(s)?”

“It was an extremely hard decision, but we looked for the student who best answered the question,” Carrie Circosta, Editor in Chief explained. “There are so many students out there doing such amazing things and making the world a better place. Everyone should still be very proud of their accomplishments.”

International Student Voice Magazine looks to sponsor scholarships in the spring, summer, and fall of each year. If you are interested in helping sponsor an international student or study abroad scholarship, please contact Carrie Circosta at ccircosta@internationalstudentvoice.org

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Read Adriana’s winning essay

As a person with a disability coming from a developing country, I feel strongly committed to work for the full inclusion of people with disabilities not only in developing countries but around the world. In that sense, studying a master’s in Mass Communications (Journalism) in the United States has helped me understand how both old and new media can be used to promote a positive image of people with disabilities, which may in turn contribute to remove social prejudices and improve the quality of life of this population. Among other things, the media can be used to favor the inclusion of disability-related issues in the agenda-setting, so that policy makers promote affirmative actions that enable the full participation of individuals with disabilities in society.

Undoubtedly, the master’s in Mass Communications perfectly supplements my previous work on inclusion, as well as my previous experiences as a participant of an association for blind and visually impaired students in my country. As a member of the inclusive education working group at the national university of Colombia, I was exposed to a great deal of information about successful higher education processes for individuals with disabilities both in Europe and the United States. Thanks to this exposure, I was able to see how the adoption of educational acts both in the United States and in some European countries has contributed to create an accessible environment where people with disabilities can develop their full potential, whether as undergraduate or graduate students.

Participating in the association for blind and visually impaired students, on the other hand, let me have access to relevant information regarding the endorsement of national and international laws intended to protect the rights of people with disabilities. Since the master’s in Mass Communications has helped me better understand how media function, I will be able, as a professional journalist, to promote strategies that facilitate the dissemination of disability-related laws through old and new media, particularly the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Throughout the master’s, I have been exposed to a good deal of books and articles in which the authors analyze, and in some cases criticize how the media (television, print media, and advertising) have traditionally misrepresented or underrepresented minority groups such as Blacks, Hispanic, the elderly, the poor, sexual minorities, and people with disabilities. Understanding this relationship between the media and minority groups will let me critically analyze what should be done, so that the media promote a more positive portrayal of individuals with disabilities both in developed and developing countries.

I have also seen how social media, including mobile phones and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, are used to mobilize people, make social and political issues visible, and organize protest. Moreover, people with disabilities are increasingly using those media to make disability-related issues visible, particularly accessibility and discrimination. Understanding social media use will, therefore, let me propose strategies that strengthen an effective communication between the media, journalists, the government and disability organizations, in order to fight against discrimination and gradually remove social barriers. Those channels can also be used to provide journalists with first-hand information on how people with disabilities want to be portrayed in the media, and what their major issues are.

Finally, by understanding how media and society are related to one another, I will be able to take a leadership position in the Colombian media, which will enable me to promote a deep social change in favor of people with disabilities. Given that the media influence the way society people perceive minority groups, working from within would contribute to the gradual removal of negative attitudes against individuals with disabilities. The removal of those barriers will enable the disability community to fully participate in society by accessing education, ICTs, political participation, culture, entertainment and healthcare. My future job as a journalist, therefore, is expected to have a positive impact on the lives of nearly 3.00.000 people living with disabilities in Colombia and over one billion people around the world (UN, 2012).

 

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2 comments

  1. Adriana’s Essay is inspiring, however, I have a concern. The Essay question is, “How will studying in another country help you achieve your career goal(s)?”, but Adriana’s answer seems to answer a “how HAS studying in another country helped you…” question. This is because, apparently, she is already studying in the US. How about prospective students who are scheduled to resume in a few months – who haven’t even had the experience yet – how then do they approach this question, especially if the previous winning entry is in this format?

  2. Salvation Mandes

    Actually, Adriana’s winning essay is inspiring, it makes you realize the privilege a non-disabled person has over a disabled person. And at the same time, what makes me likes her winning essay, was the courage and willingness she has as a journalist to erase the negative thinking of people concerning the disabled through the use of media. For a developing or developed country people with such attributes will help in eradicating discrimination among the disabled and non-disabled people living in a particular geographical area, thereby making the world a better place for all to live.

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