Manship and Ogden Honors College senior Valencia Richardson has been awarded a Fulbright Binational Internship in Mexico. Richardson is a native of Shreveport, La., and applied to be a Fulbright Scholar for a few reasons, “I wanted to go abroad and be able to use my Spanish speaking skills and I also wanted more practical research experience,” said Richardson.
The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international education exchange program. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Participants are chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential.
Richardson is involved all over LSU’s campus: she’s the Editor-in-Chief of Gumbo, LSU’s yearbook; she’s involved in College Dems and founded Geaux Vote LSU; serves as a student ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation and works at the Baton Rouge Area Chamber as a communications intern.
Richardson’s internship will take place in Mexico City for 10 months where she’ll be placed in an internship and take graduate classes. “The whole idea is to use the skills that I’ve learned at the Manship School to get practical experience and practical binational experience between Mexico and the U.S.,” she said.
When Richardson found out she was a Fulbright Scholar after a 10 month application period, she was overtaken with emotion. “I cried because I won and I wasn’t expecting to get it,” she said. “I was at work when I got the email and it was just a really great moment because I wasn’t expecting it.”
Richardson originally planned on attending law school after graduating this spring, but now those plans will be put on hold for a year until after the completion of her Fulbright Binational Internship in Mexico. After completing her Fulbright internship, Richardson still plans to attend law school, focusing on civil rights law and voting rights.
“This is exactly what I want to do,” said Richardson.” “Being able to work with a company outside of the U.S. doing the things I’m passionate about such as civic engagement and corporate responsibility.”
Richardson will be fulfilling her proposal of being a communications intern for a company or non-profit in Mexico that she’ll be placed in. “I’ll find out in June where I’ll be placed because there’s a matching process I’ll have to go through,” she said. “I’ll interview with a few companies and then I’ll choose my preference and they’ll chooses theirs and I’ll be matched up that way, then my internship will officially begin.”