Stephanie Valencia

1. What motivated you to apply for the Romero Scholarship?

"The award has so much honor and prestige, and knowing who Archbishop Romero was, and who had won the award before really motivated me to apply. Plus, I had several good rolemodels that had applied and encouraged me to apply. They were right."

2. What was the most memorable question from the interview and how did you respond?

"One of the committee members asked me 'If I lost all of my memory tomorrow, what event or person would I want to remember.' The question left me absolutely speechless, and was probably one of the hardest questions I have ever been asked. I said I would probably pick one of the nights I stayed in the cooperative where I worked in El Salvador, talking, laughing and sharing with the good friends I made there. It is a simple moment, but it was a time where I felt that no barriers existed between us, and I felt complete joy and fulfillment, and I wouldn't ever want to forget that feeling."

3. How did you feel when you heard your name called as the award winner?

"I felt absolute shock. There was so much build up, and my palms were sweating. When Father Leahy called my name I thought I was just playing it in my head, then everyone looked at me and started clapping and that was when I knew it was me. Then I just became overwhelmed with emotion, I could barely read my speech without crying."

4. What do you feel is your biggest responsibility as the Romero Scholarship recipient of 2003?

"I think that one of my primary responsibilities is to promote awareness of Archbishop Romero, but beyond that, I feel more of a responsibility to promote awareness of the causes and vision of Romero, of peace, justice and truth."

5. What would you say to students who are thinking of applying next year?

"Most definitely apply. The application process is a challenge, but it makes you ask yourself questions of where you have been, who you are, and who you want to be---questions we should all be asking ourselves."