An Indiana University of Pennsylvania student in the Cook Honors College from New Oxford will travel to Spain this summer after being awarded a scholarship from the Fund for Education Abroad.
Mirian Lua, a sophomore nursing major, is the first IUP student to be selected for an FEA scholarship.
Lua, daughter of Maria Del Carmen Lepiz-Apolinar and Horacio Lua-Lupian, is a 2017 graduate of New Oxford Senior High School. She is a dean’s list student, member of Alpha Tau Delta honorary nursing fraternity, the IUP Running Club, the IUP Sailing Club, IUP’s Student Nurses Association of Pennsylvania organization and worked as a counselor for the Cook Honors College summer honors program for high school students.
Lua will use the funds to join 15 IUP students on a five-week study abroad course that includes a 550-mile journey across northern Spain along the Camino de Santiago.
The course is the seventh led by IUP history faculty member and Cook Honors College Director Caleb Finegan, “The Road to Santiago: A Medieval Pilgrimage across Northern Spain.” It is designed to unite “the academic, artistic, spiritual, and physical realms of life by focusing on and participating in one of the most traditional and perennial activities of human beings: pilgrimage,” Finegan said.
The group will leave the French village of St. Jean Pied de Port on May 19 and arrive in Santiago, Spain, on June 23.
Lua, a first-generation college student and daughter of Mexican immigrants, will use her translating skills on the trip.
“Personally, it’s a great way to get to know myself, my endurance,” she said. “It’ll be my first ever trip to Spain, and I’m grateful to have an opportunity to learn about the culture and its people. It’s not every year that you get to go on a 500-plus-mile trip,” said Lua. “I’ll also be using my communication skills and translating for my classmates since I’m fluent in the language.”
As part of her scholarship, Lua will blog her experience throughout the journey.
“As a nursing student, Mirian is supremely dedicated and hard working,” Finegan said. “I imagine that the Fund for Education Abroad committee recognized that Mirian wants to work with and help people—be that in everyday life or as a healthcare professional.”
The Fund for Education Abroad has provided overseas opportunities for minority students who are underrepresented among the study abroad population, from community colleges, or who are first-generation students. Over the past seven years, the FEA has awarded $1.7 million in scholarships.