Where in the World is Nathaniel Sandoval?
The Fulbright Scholar begins a new adventure
He grew up in the Dominican Republic and volunteered in Nicaragua and Hawaii right after he graduated from URI. He’s worked as a house painter, a counselor in the Providence Boys and Girls Club, and as an alumni ambassador for the Gilman Scholar program in New England.
Now, Nathaniel Sandoval ’21 begins a new adventure as a Fulbright Scholar in Panama, teaching English in a public school and acting as a citizen-ambassador who organizes educational, cultural, and social activities that explain and share U.S. culture.
This newest opportunity enhances the remarkable resume that Sandoval built during his time at URI and through his URI connections.
“I was so thrilled when I was accepted to URI through the Talent Development Program,” said Sandoval. “I received a scholarship, and that meant a lot and helped me immensely. My family didn’t have the resources to send me to college. The scholarship provided a financial cushion, especially during the pandemic.”
Sandoval majored in political science with a minor in business and immersed himself on campus. He juggled his studies, jobs in the Center for Career and Experiential Education and the Writing Center, and extracurricular activities like Brothers On a New Direction, eXposure (a multicultural dance group), and The Good 5 Cent Cigar.
“I met so many people at URI and it provided me with a network of friends and mentors,” said Sandoval. “I received a lot of support—Kathleen Maher (Office of National Fellowships and Academic Opportunities) was amazing. She found out I had applied for and received the Gilman Scholarship in 2020 and encouraged me to apply for the Michael P. Metcalf Fellowship from The Rhode Island Foundation.”
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship enables students with limited resources to study or intern abroad, providing skills critical to their academic and career development as well as supporting national security and economic prosperity.
Due to the pandemic, Sandoval’s Gilman Scholarship became a virtual internship for an investment consulting company, known as Top5partner in Barcelona, Spain, rather than an in-person experience. However, following graduation, he was selected to be Gilman Scholars alumni ambassador representing the program and its advantages both in-person and virtually.
Sandoval’s Metcalf Fellowship enabled him to join other U.S. students in Nicaragua as part of Growth International Volunteer Excursions (GIVE), and then in Hawaii working on eco-friendly farming and environmental activism. His experiences helped him better understand community activism, and he served as a global engagement representative for GIVE speaking about his experiences.
He went back to Maher when he decided to apply for the Fulbright as an alum. She was happy to help.
“I want to have different experiences to figure out exactly what field I want to get into,” said Sandoval. “I really like international affairs and business development in other countries. I want to share with them what I’ve learned about entrepreneurship.
“URI prepared me for the experiences I’ve had. My academic programs and my other activities have given me the knowledge and skills I need to succeed.”
Scholarships provide opportunity
Scholarships inspire students to work hard, think big, and achieve their goals. Gifts to support scholarships for URI students are an investment in the future of individuals, the University, and our world.