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Boston College Sophomore Laura Mata Wins Highly-Competitive Study Abroad Scholarship

one of only 21 recipients from some 900 applicants nationwide

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (May 2014) – Boston College sophomore Laura Mata has been awarded a Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) Scholarship to support her upcoming study abroad semester in Ecuador. Mata is one of only 21 students nationwide to receive a FEA scholarship, drawn from a pool of almost 900 applicants representing nearly 400 US colleges and universities. She is the first-ever Boston College student to win a FEA scholarship.

Laura Mata

Mata, who is enrolled in the University’s Connell School of Nursing (CSON), plans to travel in August to Universidad San Francisco de Quito where she will take courses and complete her community health clinical rotation in a variety of urban and rural clinics.

Mata is a member of CSON’s leadership development program, Keys to Inclusive Leadership in Nursing. She is an intern at Rosie’s Place, a sanctuary for poor and homeless women in Boston, where she pursues her passion for social justice and civil responsibility. At age 12, Mata immigrated with her family to the United States from Costa Rica. Her fluency in Spanish has already proven to be an asset in her nursing rotation in a Boston hospital.

“The nursing faculty has really encouraged me. I’m really grateful to everyone who helped me along the way. I didn’t do any of this on my own,” said Mata, from Queens, N.Y.

“I chose Ecuador [as my study abroad site] because I wanted to have the opportunity to advance professionally as a future nurse. The clinical component of the program will expose me to the Ecuadorian healthcare system while allowing me to truly immerse in the culture. I am looking forward to experiencing nursing in a different way, and cannot wait to embrace all aspects of this new and fascinating culture!,” she added.

The FEA Scholarship requires recipients to maintain a blog documenting their experience and to complete two give-back service projects, one in their host country and one in the US when they return.

Through the program in Ecuador, Mata will be doing community service in clinics two days a week. She also hopes to do community service at an orphanage. When she returns to Boston, she wants to work with an organization that does outreach to at-risk youths, particularly immigrants and first-generation Americans. She also wants to reach out to freshmen in the nursing program to advise them on planning their curriculum to accommodate the acquisition of second language skills or travel abroad.

After graduation, Mata foresees working abroad in a developing country and pursuing a career as a psychiatric nurse for children.

“Laura has great potential to become a leader in the nursing profession,” said CSON Associate Professor Judith Shindul-Rothschild, Mata’s mentor. “She reflects the nursing scholar and researcher of the future – intellectually disciplined and committed to engage in research to advance culturally competent care.” 

Based in Washington DC, the FEA is committed to increasing opportunities for American students to participate in high-quality, rigorous education abroad programs, particularly those students who are under-represented in such programs, such as minorities, first-generation college students, science and technology majors, and those choosing to study in non-traditional countries.

Mata earned FEA’s Boston Area Study Abroad Association Scholarship, presented to a deserving student who attends a university or college located in New England. This scholarship is made possible through the support of the Boston Area Study Abroad Association (BASAA). For more information visit


--Kathleen Sullivan, Office of News & Public Affairs,