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Clark Diversity Fellowship program opens doors for graduate students
Clifford D. Clark, left, with Binghamton University President Harvey G. Stenger in 2013.
When Eileen Teresa Rizo-Patron, PhD '05, looks back on her Binghamton University experience, she remains grateful for how the Clifford D. Clark Diversity Fellowship for Graduate Students gave her access to the doctoral education that helped forge her career path.
"I wouldn't have been able to come (to Binghamton) had it not been for that," says Rizo-Patron, of Vestal, N.Y. "That program is at the root of everything I've done."
Since its inception nearly three decades ago, the Clark Diversity Fellowship program has helped more than 600 outstanding graduate students follow their dreams and achieve their full potential.
Clifford D. Clark, who the fellowship program is named after, died in January 2014 at the age of 88. He was president of the University from 1975 through 1990. Expansion of Binghamton's graduate and diversity programs were among his many achievements.
The highly competitive Clark Diversity Fellowship program provides support to newly admitted graduate students who meet the selection criteria. Fellows include first-generation college students, students who demonstrate they have overcome a disadvantage and those who contribute to the diversity of the student body. They receive stipends, full-tuition scholarships, research and travel opportunities, and other benefits.
Rizo-Patron thrived in the comparative literature and translation program at Binghamton, while overcoming health challenges related to contracting polio as a young child. She now works as a writer, editor and translator.
In 2011, she organized an international congress on the dynamics of cultural encounters. The event, held at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, brought together scholars from around the world, in the disciplines of literature, philosophy, anthropology and pedagogy. Last year, her trilogy of selected presentations and essays from that conference was published.
"It all came together here (at Binghamton) — my love of literature, philosophy, translation and intercultural communication," says Rizo-Patron, who is of Peruvian descent. "It was a life-changing experience for me studying at Binghamton University."