DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Juana Monsalve, a University of North TexasCollege of Music doctoral student in music performance, has been awarded the P.E.O., or Philanthropic Educational Organization, International Peace Scholarship. Ten UNT students have received a total of 15 P.E.O. scholarships since 2002.
Monsalve, a native of Colombia, is a classically trained singer who also performs traditional Colombian music. She is excited about taking her talents back home.
“This honor means the possibility to finish my doctorate degree and the ability to return to Colombia with the necessary knowledge to build a strong voice program,” Monsalve said. “I want to be part of a cultural transformation that is already happening there. My country needs young, well prepared professionals who are committed to social and cultural transformation to help their own people.”
She received the maximum amount awarded – $12,500 – with the possibility of annual renewal. She said the funding will help her achieve goals she’s set that once seemed unattainable.
“It has been my purpose and desire to return to Colombia once I finish my degree,” Monsalve said. “I was not sure I was going to be able to do so because of financial limitations, but this award opens up a world of possibilities for me. I want to use the knowledge and preparation I am getting from a world-class music program to be able to develop a series of projects in Colombia that will potentially have an educational, cultural and social impact.”
Stephen Austin, chair of the division of vocal studies and professor of voice, said he’s not surprised that Monsalve earned the prestigious honor.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for us in the College of Music to have talented people from all around the world studying here,” said Austin. “This award is going to a well-deserved recipient. Her presence enlightens and inspires us all. Juana Monsalve is here as a representative of her home country and will one day return as an ambassador to Colombia from the University of North Texas.”
The P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship Fund was established in 1949 to provide scholarships to women from other countries for graduate studies in the U.S. or Canada.
“This distinction demonstrates the high regard that national scholarship agencies and commissions have for the intellectual achievement and future promise of UNT international graduate students,” said James Duban, associate dean for research and national scholarships, TAMS and the Honors College. “Juana has brought added distinction to herself, to the College of Music and to UNT by being recognized so grandly.”