Victoria College’s Norma Zelaya was one of 25 students nationwide chosen to participate in the Keith Sherin Global Leaders Program in Spain on June 1-30.
Norma Zelaya wasn’t expecting this upcoming summer to include a trip of a lifetime.
The Victoria College student is one of 25 students nationwide selected to participate in the Keith Sherin Global Leaders Program on June 1-30 in Spain.
“I wanted to cry because it was so amazing,” Zelaya said. “I have never travelled abroad. I have never flown before. I am excited and slightly nervous.”
Zelaya will fly from Austin to New York to Madrid on May 29 and join 24 other current and former TRIO participants for a month-long study of Spanish language and culture at the University of Salamanca.
“Whenever we get to Spain, we’ll have an introduction, and they will walk us around the city,” Zelaya said. “Then on Monday we will start classes. The classes will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.”
Zelaya, who was a recipient of last year’s What’s Your Story? Scholarship for her winning essay, will have the opportunity for sightseeing in Segovia, La Alberca and Pena de Francia to learn about Spanish history, culture and art.
Victoria College KEY Center Director Pam Neuman nominated Zelaya for the trip. Zelaya was notified in February that she was chosen.
“We are so proud of Norma, and I can’t think of anyone who could better represent Victoria College, the KEY Center and our TRIO program better than she,” Neuman said. “We have seen Norma work hard to achieve her academic goals, and it is fitting that she is rewarded for her hard work.”
The Victoria College Foundation is covering the majority of Zelaya’s tuition for her studies in Spain.
“The Victoria College Foundation is honored to partner with the VC KEY Center to help Norma take advantage of this amazing opportunity,” said VC Foundation Executive Director Amy Mundy. “She has worked hard to qualify for the program, and we are looking forward to hearing about her experiences when she returns.”
“I definitely want to thank the VC Foundation and Pam Neuman for helping me out through this entire process,” Zelaya said.
The Federal TRIO Programs are designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. The KEY Center is a TRIO Student Support Services program that promotes participation in postsecondary education by encouraging intellectual growth and social development.
“I’m a first-generation college student, so it was a little bit difficult for me to get started as far as the college process goes,” said Zelaya, who wants to enter Victoria College’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program. “But a lot of the people here at the KEY Center helped me out with my advising, my major, and what I planned to do.”
For information on VC’s KEY Center, call (361) 582-2414 or email KEY@VictoriaCollege.edu.