Ofelia Chavoya, a public affairs – public administration junior from Pryor, will spend her first semester as a senior studying at Swansea University in Wales as part of the Brad Henry International Scholars Program. The program is funded and coordinated by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
Swansea is a research university with more than 15,000 students overlooking Swansea Bay on the Gower Peninsula in southwest Wales. RSU has been participating in the scholarship program since it was established in 2008.
Chavoya said she is most excited about the university’s partnership with Amnesty International, an international non-profit dedicated to fighting injustice and promoting human rights. She said her goal after graduation is to start a non-profit to promote women’s rights in disadvantaged communities around the world.
“I’ve been looking into different international opportunities, and this seemed like a great way to meet new people and get connected both with a great school and a fantastic organization,” Chavoya said. “I’m going to work like no other this summer to prepare for it.”
Though she’s always had an interest in helping others, Chavoya credits her desire to start an international non-profit to her community service through the President’s Leadership Class at RSU and her involvement with both the Student Government Association and the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature.
“Once I started getting interested in politics, I was told being an attorney was the way to change the law because then I could be the change I wanted to see,” Chavoya said. “My time in SGA and OIL showed me how much of a need there is in across the world, and I want to do something about it.”
Chavoya said though she’s never been that far from home, she’s looking forward to traveling to a new country and learning all she can at Swansea.
“Not every college student gets an opportunity like this,” Chavoya said. “It’s going to be a heck of an experience, and I’m grateful that RSU has prepared me to make the most of it.”