The University Scholarship Program
What we offer
Yspaniola’s University Scholarship Program provides full university scholarships, extracurricular tutoring, and professional development to deserving students from Batey Libertad. This program is designed to not only give students from Batey Libertad access to a college education, but also to support them in acquiring the skills they need to be successful in their chosen careers. Yspaniola supplements the academic coursework of each scholar with career counseling, internship opportunities, and individualized academic support and tutoring.
Yspaniola scholars and graduates are the ultimate aim of our pre-k through university education programs. We believe that empowering community members with university and career attainment will create a pathway for advancing the entire community of Batey Libertad. In 2010, Yspaniola filmed this video to show why we started our university scholarship program. Since then, we are proud to have celebrated four graduations and added six new scholars to the program.
Yspaniola’s first university scholars, Julio Louis and Federico Charle, graduated from the Santiago University of Technology (UTESA) in March 2014 and 2015 respectively. Yspaniola’s third university scholar, Mayra Rodriguez, graduated from UTESA in July 2016. Yspaniola’s fourth university scholar, Ramón Sanchez, graduated from medical school at UTESA in July 2018. Currently, we support six scholars with tuition, transportation and stipends for extracurricular needs. Our scholars attend the Technological University of Santiago (UTESA) and the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD) in the city of Mao. You can meet them all below!
Our Current Scholars
Meet Fedrina (Nursing Studies)
“My proudest moments are when I do practicals in hospitals. I feel very satisfied that I can help others with what I have learned in my classes.”
Fedrina joined Yspaniola’s scholarship program in September 2020. Fedrina had previously begun studying at university but had to drop out, as she was unable to pay the fees despite assistance from her parents, who fully support her dreams. From a family with 6 brothers and sisters, Fedrina has always wanted to be a doctor. She decided, however, to study nursing to begin with and hopes to progress to become a doctor in the future.
Meet Samuel (Business Administration & Hospitality Studies)
“I don’t want to repeat the story of my parents, who had to drop out of school to work in the fields and earn a living to support the family. These situations have given the strength and the will to improve myself through education in order to achieve my goals as a student and as a person.”
Samuel is studying Business Administration and Hospitality at Universidad Tecnologica de Santiago (UTESA), in Mao. Samuel’s vision is to use his background of both the Dominican and Haitian cultures to create opportunities in the tourism industry. He is passionate about cooking and wants to promote Dominican and Haitian tastes as international gourmet. As a member of the local Youth Committee, Samuel has also been involved in many community projects in collaboration with Yspaniola, from collecting census data to guiding and supporting international students as they visit the community.
Meet Rosalinda (Modern Languages Studies)
“When I found out that I was chosen as a scholar, I was so happy!… That night I was crying because I could not believe it. The scholarship will be very impactful for me and my family because I’ll be able to contribute to the development of youth in Batey Libertad.”
Rosa is studying her major in Modern Languages with a minor in English at the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo (UASD), in Mao. Rosa believes that acquiring foreign languages will help her to enter the tourism industry to work or sell products and services and make a good income. For this reason, after her graduation, she hopes to support the Batey Libertad community with a language institute where young people can develop their language skills and use these skills to advance their lives. Rosa has also always been involved in youth capacity building, especially women’s empowerment, serving as a mentor to thousands of girls around many communities throughout the country through the UNICA program.
Meet Sofíana (Psychology Studies)
“My goal is to not only earn a good grade, but also learn a lot — I like to understand and give back.”
After graduating from Liceo Matutino Maizán, Sofía was accepted in the University Scholarship Program and in January 2018 began her studies at the University of Santiago in Mao. She is majoring in Clinical Psychology, with the hopes of someday working as a children’s or school psychologist. Sofía has a strong interest in understanding people on a deeper level, and using that knowledge to provide support and look for solutions together. She explained, “Psychology is all about understanding people — how they are affected by their culture, their family, their experiences. Sometimes we judge people without understanding the reasons why they are a certain way. With psychology, you can try to find a solution to the problem.”
Meet Daniel (Psychology Studies)
“I am becoming more and more prepared to teach kids and I want to continue learning new methodologies and strategies to teach them. I like teaching in the community because I am from here.”
Daniel Luis Joseph was working as a full-time teacher in Yspaniola’s Learning Center before receiving his scholarship. Daniel graduated from High School at el Liceo Vespertino Maizal, topping his class and earning the title ‘Estudiante de Máxima Excelencia’ (Student of Maximum Excellence). With more than 3 years collaborating with Yspaniola, Daniel is now enjoying his second year at UTESA, studying Psychology. Daniel also hopes to work with children in future.
Our program goes beyond financial support, by providing regular in-house training and workshops to our scholars we can help them reach their full potential and discover new tools. Each semester is also a time to guide them, support them in their studies with regular group meetings and individual follow-ups.
As a community we grow stronger, which is why providing support and tools is our priority in this program. That way, scholars can have the best university experience, and succeed in their studies for future careers locally, nationally or abroad (read our past scholars section below to find out more about life after the scholarship program).
Dariana (Education Studies) – Graduate 2020
Fernanda Dariana Liranzo was born in Batey Libertad and graduated from high school in 2011. After graduation, she worked long hours at a clothing factory in the Free Trade Zone of nearby Esperanza. At the beginning of 2015, Dariana commenced her studies at UASD in the city of Mao, where she currently studies Elementary Education. As a teenager, Dariana would help her mother clean the public elementary school in Batey Libertad. It was this experience that first inspired her to become a teacher and serve her community. Dariana is looking forward to graduating in 2020!
“Thank-you to God and thank-you to Yspaniola for giving me the opportunity to study at the university and achieve my dream, as well as my family’s dream, of seeing me become a teacher.”
Julio (Education Studies) – Currently studying in the UK
Julio Louis was born in Batey Libertad. After he graduated high school, community leaders recognized Julio’s potential, and they worked together to raise funds for Julio to begin attending university. He began studying tourism at UTESA in 2009, where he excelled, and he was accepted into Yspaniola’s scholarship program in May 2012. Julio is currently is Yspaniola’s Director of Operations. In 2018, he spent four months as a Community Solutions Fellow at the APEX Youth Center in New Orleans, USA.
“Yspaniola’s scholarship enabled me to develop intellectually and as a citizen. It has allowed me to advocate for my community and has encouraged me to participate in extracurricular activities in Santiago.”
Mayra (Education Studies) – Graduate 2016
Mayra Altagracia Rodríguez Helena graduated near the top of her class from high school Liceo Vespertino Maizal in the spring of 2010. Despite her clear academic abilities, her family’s limited financial resources prevented her from advancing on to university. With an Yspaniola scholarship, Mayra graduated in July 2016 with a degree in Education and Natural Sciences at UTESA. Today, she is in her fourth year working as a teacher in Yspaniola’s Learning Center!
“Thanks to Yspaniola my dream of becoming a Natural Sciences Teacher is becoming a reality. Further, I’ve found new purpose, which includes working with others so that they can fulfill their dreams.”
Federico (Modern Languages Studies) – Graduate 2015
Federico Charle grew up in Batey Libertad alongside five siblings. He graduated from high school Liceo Vespertino Maizal in the spring of 2008, when he began working in rice fields and in construction to help support his family. The work was arduous and did not pay well enough for him to save money for school. After receiving an Yspaniola University Scholarship, Fede successful graduated from UTESA in 2015 with a degree in Modern Languages. He won a scholarship offered by the Dominican government, and two years later, Fede graduated from Universitat de Valencia in Spain with a Masters in Literary and Language Investigation and went on to take up a teaching role in a school in nearby Santiago in 2017. He moved to the US in 2018, and currently resides in California, where he is writing a book.
“Yspaniola represents hope. It has helped us realize we can accomplish the goals that seemed to be just far away dreams. Education is definitely the tool to develop one’s potential and make dreams come true.”
Ramón (Medical Studies) – Graduate 2018
Ramón Sanchez is a medical student currently completing his residency. His dream is to become a doctor and to serve others, especially those who need medical care in his community. Prior to enrolling at UTESA, where he has been studying Medicine, Ramón was an honors student at his high school. He also served as a trainer and leader in Deportes Para La Vida, a program that educates young people around the country about HIV/AIDS prevention.
“It’s a blessing I will be able to become a good doctor and help people in my community. I see every day as an opportunity to be better and try harder. I’m very thankful.”
We are so grateful to have dedicated partners who are as passionate about education as we are and who are committed to enabling our scholars to achieve their dreams of a degree and professional career by sponsoring university scholarships.
Since 2015, our friends at Valley Presbyterian Church supported our scholarships program annually. In early 2020, a delegation from the church was able to visit the batey and meet with our scholars in a fantastic exchange of cross-cultural solidarity. Also this year, we were delighted to welcome on board our newest USP partner, Humberstone International Inc., whose generous support has enabled us to add a new scholar into our pool, bringing the total to six current scholars! This is an incredible achievement for Yspaniola in what has been a tumultuous year for all. Thank you, Valley Presbyterian Church and Humberstone International Inc.. We are looking forward to our continued work together!