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DU student receives $10,000 Pearson Prize for higher education

A University of Denver student has received one of the first-ever Pearson Prizes for Higher Education.

Felipe Vieyra, a junior political science and international studies major from Morelia, Mexico, was one of 10 recipients chosen for the $10,000 fellowship, which recognizes undergraduate students who are active in community service.

Vieyra was selected for his efforts to reform the American immigration system. Vieyra, a member of DU Students for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and a volunteer for El Centro Humanitario, organized a community event called Noche Cultura to encourage involvement with the nonprofit and build relationships between day laborers and the Denver community.

“Being an immigrant myself, I wanted to help immigration day laborers who are not easily integrated into the Denver community,” Vieyra says. “I am passionate about reforming the faulty immigration processes and wanted to do something about it.”

Vieyra says it took14 years at attain his American citizenship. Because of the experience, he says, he wanted to work on immigration reform in college.

“The immigration community in Denver has a mix of many different races and colors, but we all share struggles,” Vieyra says. “It is important to me to build community bonds to help break barriers and address important issues.”

The Pearson Foundation is the nonprofit arm of Pearson PLC, an international media company whose holdings include The Financial Times and Penguin Publishers. The foundation supports community service and educational leadership that address key social challenges.

Adam Ray, director of communications and alliances for the Pearson Foundation, says awardees will enter into an ongoing support network of current and past Pearson Prize fellows and gain access to student resources from the Pearson Foundation.

Fellows were chosen through an application process that included submitting a transcript, an essay and recommendation letters. Students who were selected after the preliminary application created personal videos. More than 10,000 students applied for the prize, which was administered in 2010 by the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Twenty students were awarded a fellowship.

“It was an honor and a privilege to receive the prize after going through all the stages of the application,” Vieyra says. “I have never applied for anything by creating a two-minute video about myself explaining why I deserved the award. It was unique.”

Vieyra plans to use the award to offset tuition costs.


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