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Magallanes-Nava selected to attend TRIO leadership program in Spain

Mark Magallanes-Nava

WVU Tech psychology major Mark Magallanes-Nava has been selected as one of 24 student nationwide to participate in the Council for Opportunity in Education’s Keith Sherin Global Leaders Program in Salamanca, Spain.

Magallanes-Nava was born in California and grew up Sahuarita, Arizona. He came to Tech as a first-generation student on a soccer scholarship.

"It was hard at first. I wasn't prepared for the amount of reading and study. Finances were tough. I didn't know how to handle things,” he said.  

He said he quickly found valuable support in the school’s TRIO Student Support Services program.

"TRIO guided me. They helped me grow as a person. They taught me how to deal with professional relationships and to see how things work in the background. They pushed me to do more. They taught me leadership skills,” he said.

“Mark has been an extremely active member of the TRIO SSS program,” said WVU Tech Assistant Dean of Students for TRIO and Diversity Programs Scott Robertson. 

“He has taken part in all program services ranging from tutoring to graduate school visits. He is currently employed by the program as a peer mentor to assist freshman with the transition to college,” Robertson said. 

One major component of the TRIO SSS program is cultural experience. The program takes students on regular trips to see plays, visit exhibits and try new cuisine to expose them to various cultures.

“Never in my life would I have gone to a Broadway play on my own,” said Magallanes-Nava. “This program opens your eyes. They help you see things and try things out that you might never experience otherwise. You see things from a different perspective."

Now his experience in the program will take him across the Atlantic.  

Magallanes-Nava will travel nearly 4,000 miles to Salamanca at the end of May. He’ll stay there with a host family for one month, taking classes and exploring the region and its culture. He’ll also be taking immersive Spanish speaking and writing courses.

"It's a great chance to learn about Spanish culture and history. I speak Spanish, but I don't have the vocabulary to be a translator. I don't write much Spanish, so this will help me re-learn some of what used to by my primary language,” he said. 

Magallanes-Nava said he still has ties to his extended family in Mexico and has spent some time in the country. Even so, he's looking forward to a brand new cultural experience.

"Mexican culture is different than American cultures, but there are still a lot of similarities. This trip is going to be something entirely different, and I'm excited to be in a completely different culture."

He’s also excited to explore the University of Salamanca. Chartered 800 years ago, it’s the third-oldest operating institution of higher learning in the world.

"They're going to be celebrating the anniversary and there will be a lot of festivities," he said.

Robertson said that Magallanes-Nava is the first WVU Tech student to attend this program. He's also the only student selected from Mid-Eastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel region of TRIO program, which includes Delaware, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

After the month-long program, Magallanes-Nava hopes to earn his MBA and a master’s degree in the field of industrial and organized psychology, which studies human behavior in the workplace.

Robertson said Magallanes-Nava will be blogging about the experience and that the program will follow his journey on social media.