The University of Maine at Presque Isle is pleased to announce that Raymond Feliciano Rodríguez, an exchange student who traveled from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, San German to UMPI in Spring 2016 to study Secondary Education, was recently named the recipient of the Richard R. Bond Community Engagement Award by the National Student Exchange (NSE).
“It’s an honor to have one of our former students be nominated for this award,” Nicole Fournier, UMPI National Student Exchange Coordinator, said. “This is a very competitive award, and Raymond, who was such an asset to the Education Program while he was here, is incredibly deserving of this honor.”
The Richard R. Bond Community Engagement Award recognizes students who demonstrate the best use of their exchange participation. Consideration is given not only to academic accomplishments, but also to social welfare service, contribution to the campus or community environment, and unusual or creative use of time while on exchange. Named after a former NSE consortium leader, the Richard R. Bond Community Engagement Award includes a $500 stipend and NSE portfolio.
During his time at UMPI, Feliciano Rodríguez served as a member of the student organization SEAM (Student Education Association of Maine), where he was able to take part in a conference titled, “Maslow Before Bloom” in Augusta, and as a reading tutor in the after-school program at Washburn District Elementary School. He also was a DJ for WUPI, a member of the Page Turners student book club, and a presenter at UMPI’s University Day, where he spoke about education in Puerto Rico.
“From the very moment I first stepped into Presque Isle, UMPI made me feel at home,” Feliciano Rodríguez said. “[The staff] were so attentive to me so I could have the smoothest transition from my tropical home into the harsh and white winter of Maine. There are no words that could summarize or describe how grateful I am at having this marvelous experience.”
In addition to engaging in several student organizations, Feliciano Rodríguez also took the opportunity to connect with the wider community. He participated as a speaker for the Education Program during UMPI’s Accepted Students Day. He also visited other Maine communities, from Ashland and Fort Kent to Machias and Portland.
“All in all, this program helped me to know and understand myself better,” he said. “I feel more confident now, and I cannot wait to see more of what this diverse world has to offer. There is so much to see, so many people to meet, and so much to learn in this small world of ours! I highly recommend the National Student Exchange program to those looking for a wild ride filled with ‘passion, adventure, and maybe a little danger.’”
The National Student Exchange provides study away opportunities to students enrolled at its 170 member colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Established in 1968, NSE has provided exchange opportunities to more than 110,000 students. NSE is a study away program that fits into university initiatives for globalization, diversity and engagement. It is a program that takes students out of their comfort zones and challenges them to experience life and learning from a different point of view.
For more information, visit www.nse.org.