CSU, Chico News

Student Fulbright Recipient to Spend Year in Mexico

Date: 04-22-2015

Zach Phillips
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico senior Vianney Bernabe has received a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Award and will spend nearly a year working and studying in Mexico City, Mexico. She is the second student in CSU, Chico’s history to receive this honor.

Bernabe, a political science and Spanish major, was awarded the Fulbright Study/Research Grant, allowing her to participate in the Binational Business Internship after she graduates in May. The internship puts students to work at a Mexico-based company or nonprofit, where they will also expand their understanding of post-North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Mexico’s economic and political landscape.

She expects to learn exactly where she’ll be placed in the coming weeks.

Bernabe’s interest in international business began during her time studying abroad in Santiago, Chile, in 2012, on the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. The courses she took on corporate law and international contracts opened her eyes to how international business is conducted, she said.

In addition to studying abroad, Bernabe said that her political science education and her participation and victory in the 2014 CSU, Chico moot court competition, a mock court event, have put her legal skills to the test, and have reaffirmed her passion for international law.

“Legal studies at Chico State taught me about how the law is interpreted, how it applies to people and how it affects the state,” Bernabe said.

In her proposal for the Fulbright U.S. Student Award, Bernabe expressed curiosity in the recent immigration wave of Latino communities from Mexico to the Los Angeles area. She hopes that the Binational Business Internship will allow her to analyze and observe how international contracts, such as NAFTA, have affected those regions.

Bernabe said that the application process for the Fulbright student award was a grueling one, requiring her to provide five writing samples and to form a support committee of representatives from the Department of Political Science, the Department of Foreign Language and the Office of International Education. In addition to their letters of recommendation, the committee provided invaluable support and guidance for Bernabe during the application process, she said.

“I’m very lucky to have such great support from those departments,” Bernabe said. “Without them—without their input, without their support—I couldn’t have done this. I couldn’t have been as successful.”

Bernabe’s acceptance into the Fulbright Student Program places her amongst approximately 1,900 Fulbright student grants awarded annually, operating in more than 140 countries worldwide.

“For future Fulbright applicants, I recommend that they take advantage of every resource that they have,” Bernabe said. “Chico State is a very supportive community. The staff and the professors support their students, 100 percent.”

The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Grant recipients are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. For more information, visit the Fulbright U.S. Student Program’s website.


Photo credit: Chris Quattran