Felipe Hernandez
“My mission is to empower youth through education so that they develop the mechanisms, skills and resources to change their lives – and the lives of their family and community – forever,” says Felipe Hernandez, who’s majoring in music performance and political science. Steve Zylius / University Communications

Irvine, Calif., Dec. 12, 2014 – Felipe Hernandez has won a prestigious and highly competitive Marshall Scholarship, which supports two years of study at a British university.

The program was established by the British government as a gesture of thanks to the U.S. for aid provided after World War II under the Marshall Plan. Just 40 students annually are awarded the Marshall Scholarship. UCI alumna Kelly Maglia was a 1996 recipient.

Hernandez, a 2013 graduate in music performance and political science, plans to earn two master’s degrees while in the United Kingdom: one in educational leadership, policy & development at the University of Bristol and one in comparative social policy at the University of Oxford.

He hopes to study how policy can help reduce barriers to success for first- and second-generation immigrant students and to research the effects of policy strategy and socioeconomic mobility.

“By analyzing this complex issue through a scholarly comparative lens, combined with my work and personal experience, I will learn to develop social policies that can mobilize these communities – first in California and then worldwide,” Hernandez said.

He previously won a Harry S. Truman Scholarship and a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grant that took him to Colombia’s University of Ibague. In addition, Hernandez interned for U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez through the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and at the U.S. Department of Education under the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

After returning from his Fulbright year abroad, he took part in a Roadtrip Nation documentary about successful first-generation American leaders across the country. Hernandez is currently participating in the Capital Fellows Program in Sacramento.

“As a world traveler, I actively share my narrative of being a first-generation Latino from a low-income community,” he said. “In Colombia, my story transformed my students’ opinions about the U.S., and they further opened their minds and willingness to travel internationally and create friendships.”

Hernandez has benefited greatly from UC Irvine’s Scholarship Opportunities Program, launched in 1990 to help undergraduates win prestigious scholarships. It serves applicants for 12 annual awards, including the postgraduate Marshall Scholarship, providing them with the communication skills – writing, editing, public speaking and interviewing – needed to compete successfully for top awards.

Students who work with SOP learn how to evaluate and strengthen their talents and interests to achieve their academic and career goals. The program also manages the university-level application evaluation and endorsement process for scholarships requiring nomination or endorsement. For more information, visit scholars.uci.edu.

Media contact: Laura Rico, Writer – lrico@uci.edu

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. Located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities, it’s Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy.

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