Luis Ojeda, a recent graduate of California State University, Hayward, has been named a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship for nine months of graduate work in Spain, where he will study the impact of the new European currency, the Euro, on the national banking system. Nationwide, about 1,000 fellowships are awarded annually to students and faculty.
During his undergraduate studies at Cal State Hayward, Ojeda earned bachelor's degrees in three subjects - economics, history and international studies. He was captain of the men's varsity soccer team the year it won the California Pacific League champion-ship. He was active in the Delta Chi fraternity and served on the board of directors of the Associated Students and the Family Support Services of the Bay Area. He also was chair of the University Union board, and served on the orientation staff and as a student mentor.
"I think Cal State Hayward is fantastic," said Ojeda. "It's one of those schools that you get out of it what you put into it. There are social activities, if that's what you want, sports, a wide array of courses, and great professors."
In addition to his undergraduate studies and extracurricular activities, during his years at Cal State Hayward, Ojeda was selected for two summer fellowship programs. At Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. he attended the Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems. At the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, he participated in a fellowship in international affairs and also had an internship at the Institute of International Education.
According to the 24-year-old honor graduate, he first learned about the Fulbright Fellowship program from the institute's president, who had been a Fulbright Fellow himself.
The program, named for the late Senator William Fulbright, awards approximately 500 fellowships annually to "promising young scholars from the bachelor's to the doctoral level."
According to Ojeda, the number of fellows to each foreign country varies. Initially he considered applying for one of about eight openings in Finland during a year when there were only a handful of applicants. Instead he decided to wait a year and apply for Spain, where he would be more familiar with the culture and language. He was awarded one of the 44 appointments for Spain this year when more than 150 applied for that country.
Ojeda was raised in a working-class family in the City of Pinole. At home his family, knowing he would learn English when he reached school, spoke only Spanish, his first language. At local public schools, he did well in English and every other subject taught, graduating from Pinole High School in 1994 with a 3.2 grade point average.
At Cal State Hayward he was even more successful, earning honors at graduation with a grade point average he estimates at "about 3.5 or 3.6."
According to Ojeda, he feels Cal State Hayward's academic programs prepared him well for his future. He said when the University of Michigan fellowship program concluded, the institute ranked the 20 participants. He placed third in the class.
"I don't want to seem as though I'm bragging," he said, "but I know I beat out students from Harvard and some of the other Ivy League schools."
Ojeda's career goal is to work at a management consultant firm, preferably with international projects. He has experienced foreign travel already, and he enjoys it.
As an undergraduate, he was a member of a special business program that developed marketing plans for international firms, taking him to China, Thailand and Hong Kong. Recently he went to Japan on a business trip for Deloitte and Touche, the San Francisco business consulting firm he joined after graduating from Cal State Hayward.
As a teen-ager, he visited Denmark, Holland and Sweden as a player on an all-star soccer team, before coming to Cal State Hayward and excelling at the sport.
When asked if he would choose athletics over business, the young graduate smiled broadly and replied, "If I were good enough and had the choice, would I choose pro-soccer over business? In a heartbeat!"
Public Affairs Offices/Campus News