Ivan Pineda

Ivan Pineda in ChinaIvan Pineda in China.

USF Junior Receives Three National Scholarships for Study in Southeast Asia

Ivan Pineda has created a unique trajectory for his future through globally impactful research. He has earned three national scholarships: the Freeman-ASIA Award, the Fund for Education Abroad Scholarship, and the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS). These awards enabled him to study Chinese language while exploring additional interests for research in China.

Ivan, an Honors College junior double majoring in Quantitative Economics and International Studies, embarked on the 2018 CLS intensive language learning program at the Dalian University of Technology (DUT) in China. “I experienced rigorous study and practice of the Mandarin language and was involved with my host community in a way that few Americans get to experience,” he says. “I stayed with a host family in Dalian for two months and had a four-year-old host sister, who taught me songs and educated me on the different kinds of snacks in China.”

His experience at DUT was memorable. “One of the professors in the mechanical engineering department taught me about Chinese culture and family life, as well as science and engineering initiatives at DUT,” he says. “I got to visit some of the labs and see research projects in progress.”

As a result of his increased proficiency in the Chinese language, Ivan was also able to converse with local Chinese professionals about his career interests. “I’m exploring Chinese investments in green energies in Brazil and Italy and comparing the differences in China’s investment and economic policy strategy between developed and developing countries,” says Ivan, who is originally from Bogota, Colombia. “I believe the implementation and expansion of renewable energies is of paramount importance to the world.”

Prior to his CLS travel, the Fund for Education Abroad and Freeman-ASIA Award afforded Ivan similar language study experiences in Taiwan. “They all gave me the flexibility of choosing the study abroad program I wanted,” he says.

“I went to Taiwan with the Taiwan summer language program through American Councils, an international education institution that facilitates cultural exchange, language training, and professional development. I studied Mandarin Chinese in a very thorough curriculum,” he says. “I also took culture classes and was involved in local student clubs.”

Inspired by his national scholarship experiences, Ivan hopes to obtain a Fulbright Study Grant for completion of a master's degree, focusing on environmental finance and environmental policy. Ultimately, he dreams of becoming an entrepreneur with a focus on consulting projects in the green energy field.

Ivan worked closely with the Office of National Scholarships (ONS) on each of his scholarship applications. "USF and ONS have truly been a blessing for me," he says. "ONS supported me throughout the entire process, from finding out what programs I’m eligible to apply for to working with my recommenders to submit a competitive application.”

Ivan believes his involvement in the USF community created an exceptional avenue for him to achieve his goal of entrepreneurship. “USF provided me with opportunities to get involved on campus and encouraged me to develop a scholarly mindset through classes and research opportunities,” he says.

This story is featured in the 2017-2018 edition of Legacies.