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Press Release

Six Students from Public High Schools Obtain Scholarship to Study in U.S Colleges

AUGUST 8th 2018

·       The winners are students from Professional Technical High Schools and from public high schools that belong to the International Baccalaureate. 
·       The scholarships were given thanks to an alliance between CRUSA Foundation, CINDE, the U.S. Embassy, United Airlines and the Costa Rica-North American Cultural Center. 

August 7, 2018.  Their outstanding academic level, their language skills, their leadership and interest in the STEM areas: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, are qualities that six Costa Rican students have in common and made them obtain a scholarship of technical studies in the United States. 

María Nazareth Mata Castillo, Valeria Saborío Barquero, Diego Hernández Montero, Maxwell Jornae Pita Nelson, Josué Ortega Ramírez y Antony Ramírez Montero, became the second generation of Costa Rican students in the public education system to earn scholarships scholarships to study in community colleges in the United States, this thanks to the progam “Scholarships for Specialized Technicians Dr. Ana Sittenfeld”.

The scholarship program is the result of the partnership between the Costa Rica – United States Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA), the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE), the U.S. Embassy, United Airlines and the North American-Costa Rican Cultural Center, through its Education USA educational advisory office.

"For CRUSA Foundation, it is vital to support the country in creating capabilities in areas that are strategic, above all, to boost the knowledge and innovation economy. We know that the country has an increase in the number of new professionals in science and technology, but they are not enough to meet the demand of the business sector," said Marisela Bonilla, Coordinator of Human Capital, Knowledge and Innovation of the CRUSA Foundation.

According to CINDE, multinational companies could double the number of jobs that are generated each year if there were a greater supply of qualified personnel in careers related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In 2017 alone, 13,754 high-quality and well-paid jobs were created. These projections fostered the CRUSA Foundation to promote the training of human talent in the areas demanded by the labor market.

Jorge Sequeira, CINDE’s Managing Director, commented: "This type of joint initiatives enhance the capabilities of the country's future workforce. Strengthening our human capital is vital to face the challenges established by megatrends worldwide. The more than 300 multinational companies that operate today from Costa Rica continue to highlight the intellectual capacity of our people as the main reason to operate from here and export high value-added goods and services to the entire world. "

Overcoming stories
Of the students who received scholarships, five are from the Professional Technical Colleges of General Viejo, Santa Ana, San Isidro de Heredia, San Agustín and COVAO in Cartago, while the sixth student is from the Gregorio José Ramírez School, which belongs to the International Baccalaureate Program. All of them went through a rigorous selection process, in which a committee of representatives from CINDE, the US Embassy, Education USA and CRUSA Foundation, evaluated their academic level, their English language proficiency, leadership, and their socioeconomic status.

Each one of them has a history of personal struggle that, with their families’ support and loved ones, leaded to success.

Maxwell Jornae Pita Nelson, from San Agustín Technical College, is sure that studying is the only tool to improve their quality of life. For that reason, he left his mother and his sister in Limón and moved to the Ciudad de los Niños in Cartago, where he studied.

"Being able to go to another country and study to improve my professional skills and share the culture is one of those opportunities that are rare for low-income people like me. To carry out this technical study is a challenge that I wish to fulfill with my heart and on behalf of all those who have supported me, "said the 18-year-old.

María Nazareth Mata Castillo will have to leave her house in Peñas Blancas de Pérez Zeledón, where she lives with her parents and four brothers, to follow her dreams and her passion for mathematics in the United States. "At home we all like math and to research, I want to be an agent of change, showing that numbers are fabulous and that women can play with them. The more tools I develop, the more they will allow me to contribute to my family, community and country, "said Mata.

Scholarship holders: 
Name                                                                 High School                                          Area of interest
María Nazareth Mata Castillo                            CTP General Viejo                                 Math
Valeria Saborío Barquero                                  CTP Santa Ana                                      Industrial Engineering
Diego Hernández Montero                                CTP San Isidro de Heredia                    Cyber security
Maxwell Jornae Pita Nelson                              CTP San Agustín                                   Communications and Technology
Josué Ortega Rodríguez                                   Colegio Gregorio José Ramírez            Industrial Engineering
Antony Ramírez Montero                                  COVAO                                                  Robotics, Mechatronics 

Community Colleges 
The beneficiaries of this program will study at Community Colleges in the United States and will be able to complement their academic training with internships at companies that have operations in Costa Rica and whose headquarters are located on the US.

According to the Press and Culture Counselor of the U.S. Embassy, Addie Schroeder, "these opportunities allow Costa Rican students to prepare themselves better at an academic and professional level. This second year of partnership between CRUSA, CINDE and the embassy reiterates our commitment to contribute to the country's workforce development and strengthening future leaders. "

It is estimated that 13 million students enroll in the Community Colleges of the United States, and more foreign students are enrolled.

The total budget of the Specialized Technician Scholarship Dr. Ana Sittenfeld Program is $ 1,567,000 for five years, which means, these scholarships will continue to be awarded until 2021. They include the registration costs, health insurance and living expenses, and United Airlines donates the airline tickets. 

For more information
Carlos Morales