Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

New coordinator brings light to the Office of Study Abroad and Nationally Competitive Scholarships

Jo Early
Director Jonathan Cordova, left, and Coordinator PJ Hunt, right, lead the Office of Study Abroad and Nationally Competitive Scholarships.

In March, the Office of Study Abroad and Nationally Competitive Scholarships at West Texas A&M University welcomed a new coordinator, PJ Hunt. Hunt, a veteran of the United States Army, was born and raised in Colombia and traveled to several countries, including Peru, Panama and South Korea, before moving to Amarillo. She taught art in Pampa for four years, then became a substitute teacher for Canyon ISD, where she was encouraged to look into a job at WT.

“Since I am a child of a study abroad, I want everybody else to have that opportunity,” Hunt said. “When I was working in Pampa, I realized how many students and how many families had never even gotten out of the area, or had never been in another city, been on a plane or had that experience. And I want all of them to; as many students as we can take them abroad and open their mind to different cultures. And see how they can impact the world and impact the people around them.”

Director of the Office of Study Abroad and Nationally Competitive Scholarships, Jonathan Cordova, said that Hunt has “brought a light that we really needed.”

“She has brought some really good ideas and an aspect of organization that the Office needed,” Cordova said. “And so she has helped on that aspect. And she is very energetic, where she likes to talk to students, and she has helped us gain or connect with more students than we have in the past. And that has helped us spread the word of the study abroad opportunities that we have currently with students.”

Hunt and Cordova are organizing study abroad opportunities in Spain, Wales, England, Kenya and a summer session in Costa Rica. Hunt said that these opportunities are available to international students as well, and the Office of Study Abroad and Nationally Competitive Scholarships will help them with the necessary paperwork.

“Please do not assume that you cannot go because of the price of the trip,” Hunt said. “They need to let us do our job. My job is to make sure that I can take that student and see how much we can help them hopefully paying for everything but if not helping as much as possible to make it available. . . We also work with Veteran Services, and we’re very friendly to our veterans and active-duty soldiers. They have the opportunity, also, to use some of their GI Bill benefits toward classes abroad, and some of them don’t know that. So we try to also include our military and make sure that they come to us and talk to us.”

Studying abroad allows participating students to earn academic credit hours in a new environment.

“It’s really needed for students to get outside their comfort zone and do something that they don’t do every day,” Cordova said. “So, we encourage students to go to a different country; experience something new, and then academic-wise, they experience a different teaching style. They experience something different that they don’t do here in Canyon, and that’s what they get academically. But more importantly, they do get that credit. So students get 12 credits, no less than 12 credits for a semester. For summers, they get six credits.”

Hunt said that someday, she’d like to bring students to South Korea.

“My heart belongs to South Korea,” Hunt said. “My last duty station was in South Korea. So I was there for a year, and six months into my deployment, my husband arrived, which he wasn’t my husband at the time. And I just, I have a beautiful memory of Seoul because we actually got married there. And I just want to come back.”

The Office of Study Abroad hosts events throughout the academic year to give students information about opportunities like using the Fulbright scholarship to teach English or conduct research in another country and pop-in events to deliver information about program-specific study abroad opportunities.

Hunt and Cordova’s offices are located in the Classroom Center, rooms 115A and 115B. They can be contacted at [email protected] or on their Instagram, @wtstudyabroad.

“PJ always has her door open and she is very friendly,” Cordova said. “She’s personable and so we encourage students to come talk to us, but more importantly PJ so she can have some time to meet our students and meet anybody that she hasn’t met yet on campus.”

This article is sponsored by Student Health Services. To advertise with The Prairie News, please view our advertising page or email us at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Jo Early
Jo Early, Editor-in-Chief
Hello, my name is Jo Early and I am a senior digital communication & media major from Amarillo. I transferred from Amarillo College in Spring 2023 and began working as editor-in-chief in Fall 2023. I want to inform the West Texas A&M Community and spotlight student resources. In the future, I hope to work for NPR.

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