Tag Archives: Scholarship

International Student Scholarship Recipients Honored at Annual Luncheon

From Inside USD – Patricia Marquez, dean of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies (KSPS), spent much of her time at the UC Forums’ podium Tuesday emphasizing one of the University of San Diego’s key strategic goals and, in particular, her school’s vision for it.

“It is to expand our global presence. We understand that talent is everywhere. We want to bring it here, we want to nurture it and we want to develop it,” she said. “For students from developing and conflict-affected countries, coming to the U.S. and to study in the Kroc School’s Peace and Justice program would be impossible without scholarships, without your support.”

The 28th annual Scholarship Appreciation Luncheon provided all donors the opportunity to meet the student(s) they’ve supported, give a student the chance to say “thank you” in person, share a meal together and connect.

But the sincerity of Marquez’s words and impact of USD donors’ generosity — be it alumni, foundations, parents, USD employees, education supporters and proponents of peace — was echoed by Maha Paulus, a KSPS benefactor via the Paulus Peace Scholarship. It was presented in a moving video tribute to the work of 2008 Master of Arts Peace and Justice Studies (MAPJ) alumna Shobha Pradham Shrestha. And, finally, current MAPJ students Naumana Suleman of Pakistan and Mathieu Bere of Burkina Faso reiterated it.

“Because we come from the Middle East, a region where peace has not prevailed for a very long time, we wanted to provide students like (current Paulus Peace Scholarship recipient and MAPJ student) Jasmine Afshar the opportunity to become ambassadors of peace and contribute to a legacy of future generations to come,” said Paulus, who along with her husband Al, immigrated to the U.S. from Iraq in the early 1970s. Their two daughters are USD alumnae. Maha volunteered with and has learned a lot about the Kroc School’s mission, vision and important work internationally. Al Paulus has also served on the school’s board of advisors.

Said Marquez: “The Paulus family was among the first donors to the School of Peace Studies. They had faith in our promise and that a new generation of peacebuilders, focused on thinking differently, with courage, could change the face of the planet.”

Both Suleman and Bere expressed thanks to the opportunities given to them to make their USD education experience possible.

“It’s been an incomparable experience for me being here,” said Suleman, whose skill set through the MAPJ program will be used for good despite being from a country that is constantly dealing with terrorists, faith-based violence and discriminatory laws and policies toward religious minorities. Suleman received the Gandhi Fellowship, a Joan B. Kroc Scholarship in Peace and Justice Studies and a Global Grant Scholarship from the Rotary Clubs of San Diego and Imperial Counties, District 5340.

Bere, whose native country experienced a military coup last year, is focused on adding to his skill set in conflict resolution, governance, sustainable development and peace. A Fulbright Fellowship and Dean’s Graduate Merit Scholarship recipient, Bere said what he learns at USD will make an impact upon his return.

“There is an urgent need for people with specialized training in conflict resolution,” he said.

The work done by all students in the peace studies program — whether a MAPJ student or an undergraduate student in the peace and justice minor — as well as students in other USD schools provides a glimpse of what a USD education delivers and, with the support of generous donors, helps to reinforce a commitment to the mission of its founders.

“All of the ingredients, the mix, that’s really focused on our mission as a university are right here in this room,” said USD President Mary E. Lyons, PhD. “There are, as you know, so many talented and deserving men and women around the world who benefit from this university’s mission and education. The only limitations are resources. … The work we’re doing on behalf of the greater good has tremendous impact around the world. You are all a part of that mission. All of us share in that.”

— Ryan T. Blystone

Learn about supporting USD scholarships and other USD giving opportunities

Photo descriptions (clockwise from top): Naumana Suleman speaks to the audience; Mathieu Bere; and Vice President and Provost Andy Allen chats with current USD students, each of whom received scholarship assistance through generous donor support.

Julian: Changing Hats from Mechanical Engineer to Professor Soccer Player

Name: Julian Ringhof

Country: Germany

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Language(s): German, English


FullSizeRender“Hi Toreros! My name is Julian Ringhof and I was a student-athlete and international student at USD and graduated in Mechanical Engineering in December. But for now I left the engineering world behind. Growing up in Germany I started playing soccer when I was four years old. My entire family has always been very passionate about sports and becoming a professional athlete had always been a dream of mine. However, knowing that an athletic career doesn’t last forever and could come to a sudden end because of injuries I didn’t want to chase that dream at cost of a good education. So after going to university in Germany for one year while playing soccer semi-professionally I decided to transfer to a school in the United States to become a student-athlete. The college sports system in the US presented a great opportunity of keeping the dream of potentially becoming a pro athlete alive while receiving a great education on an athletic scholarship. A compromise the European college system doesn’t provide.

Unfortunately my path to USD was a little longer and more complicated than it could have been. My first two years I went to a state school in Los Angeles. Even though I had a great time at Cal State LA it became clear to me that for both a better soccer program and a better academic institution I needed to transfer. Transferring as a student-athlete however, is a rather complicated. I don’t want to go into details but it was quite the risk to ask for a release from my old school and potentially losing my entire athletic scholarship in order to reach out for other schools. Just coming back from an ankle surgery and not being able to train at the time made the process of finding an athletic scholarship at a better school even more complicated. Luckily Seamus McFadden, the head coach of the soccer program at USD, took the chance and offered me a transfer to USD to become a Torero. All it took for me was one visit to the beautiful USD campus and I knew this was where I wanted to go.

IMG_2503What followed were the best two and a half years of my life. I assume most of you don’t take the opportunity of studying at USD for granted but believe me being able to compare it to a regular state school made me appreciate it even more. The family-like atmosphere among students, professors, coaches and administration is what makes USD such a unique experience. The sense of community on campus is something that most European universities and many commuter schools in the US such as my first school do not have.  This sense of community is why I call USD home and why friendships with teammates and classmates at USD will last a lifetime. It’s only been a few months since I graduated but I already miss being a student-athlete at USD.

But as sad as it is that this chapter is over now the career opportunities that I have thanks to USD is more than I could have dreamed of when I first decided to come to the US. At a USD career fair my senior year I was offered a job by Solar Turbines, an international subsidiary of Caterpillar and arguably one of the best engineering companies in San Diego. And the job I was offered was exactly what I wanted my first job to be like: travel around the world for engineering projects.

However, I ended up not taking the job. This is because I was able to make my dream come true and become a professional soccer player. Two weeks ago I signed a contract with the Rochester Rhinos in New York to play pro soccer in the United States. Still understanding that an athletic career is limited to a few years the only reason I’m taking this chance of playing in the second tier of American soccer is because I have a degree in engineering from USD in my back pocket, the best career safety valve I could imagine. I’m sure sooner or later I will return to the engineering world.IMG_1731

So what can I say; I don’t think this journey of coming to the US and transferring to USD as a student-athlete could have turned out any better. Yes, it was a lot of hard work and being on the soccer team while earning a degree in engineering required a lot of sacrifice. But thanks to my friends, family, professors, coaches, the great support of the International Office and maybe some good German efficiency and time management the last two and half years were incredibly fulfilling and pure joy. Thank you USD and GO TOREROS!”

-Julian Ringhof