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NMSU student awarded prestigious Woodrow Wilson Fellowship

As one of only ten college students from across the nation to receive the prestigious Woodrow Wilson Foreign Affairs Fellowship, New Mexico State University graduate Melissa Martinez feels "excited, surprised and privileged."


The Espanola, N.M., native had been awaiting notification of the award ever since she completed the final selection process in Washington, D.C., in early May. She was notified that she won June 1.

The fellowship will cover all expenses for Martinez to attend the graduate school of her choice and is contingent upon her entering the foreign service upon graduation.

"I feel all the effort I've put into college is getting results," Martinez said.

Martinez hopes the Wilson Fellowship will lead her down one of two paths that are important to her -- working with programs that enhance educational opportunities for underprivileged students, or assisting diplomats and ambassadors with public appearances.

Before Martinez enrolls in graduate school, she will spend the upcoming year researching media patterns in Mexico under a $30,000 National Security Exchange Programs graduate fellowship.

Under NMSU's Ronald E. McNair Program, Martinez compiled a research project on border issues titled "La Gente de la Frontera: A Cross-Cultural Perspective on Border Identity." The research project "strengthened my application and was partially why I was selected as a finalist for the Wilson fellowship," Martinez said.

Martinez, the daughter of Conrad and Marlene Martinez of Espanola, graduated from NMSU May 15 with a bachelor's degree in communications studies and a supplementary major in Latin American studies.