Dominican Republic offers RIT scholarships

A. Sue Weisler | photographer

Ligia Amada Melo, secretary of state for Higher Education, Science and Technology in the Dominican Republic, sits with RIT President Bill Destler during a visit to RIT in 2007.

The Dominican Republic government has partnered with RIT to offer scholarships to the island country’s best and brightest graduate students. James Miller, senior vice president for Enrollment Management and Career Services at RIT, recently signed the agreement with Ligia Amada Melo, secretary of state for Higher Education, Science and Technology in the Dominican Republic, to offer scholarships to RIT in the areas of industrial and systems engineering, sustainable engineering, innovation management, computing, software engineering, telecommunication engineering technology, networking and systems administration, and communication and media technologies. To date, the secretary of Higher Education, Science and Technology has received more than 25 competitive applications for this upcoming summer quarter. An additional 25 to 40 graduate students from the Caribbean nation will have the opportunity to apply and attend RIT this fall on a full ride from the government. “This is a significant step in our relationship with the Dominican Republic,” says Miller, “and an excellent example of how our global partnerships mature and develop over time.” Interest from the Dominican government in this partnership began last fall when RIT hosted Dominican Republic President Leonel Antonio Fernández Reyna and members of his cabinet on campus. Fernández and RIT President Bill Destler discussed wide-ranging partnerships between the Dominican Republic and the university. “The collaboration with RIT provides opportunities to our students to have high quality education,” Fernández said then. “We need to train our people at a high level to fully integrate into the international community.” RIT’s relationships in the Dominican Republic began in 1996 with Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra when a small group of students from the university came to RIT to study in industrial engineering and business. Since then, more than 250 Dominican students have completed RIT degrees in disciplines critical to the economic development of the country. There are currently more than 40 students from the Dominican Republic studying in bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate programs at RIT. An additional 50 students are completing master’s degree programs in networking and systems administration and service management in the Dominican Republic. In 2006, RIT and Pontificia Universidad established the International Center for Innovation in Technology and Management. The initiative is designed to provide support and build capacity in the areas of technological infrastructure, human resource development, collaborative research and innovation in the manufacturing and service sectors. In 2007, the Dominican government joined the university partnership and pledged significant financial support for programs through the center. This three-way partnership supports the government agenda to increase competitiveness of the country, with emphasis on enhancing cyber-infrastructure, innovation in manufacturing and international business development.