FSC Student Named FCPA Student of the Year
Samantha Tyburski (second from right) with Centro Las Libres staff (L-R): Mónica Maciel Méndez and Gabriela Ortiz, attorneys for Centro Las Libres, and Verónica Cruz Sánchez, executive director for Centro Las Libres.
LAKELAND, Fla. (July 13, 2011) — For her outstanding achievements in experiential learning while studying at Florida Southern College, Samantha Tyburski, Class of 2011, was named the Florida Career Professional Association (FCPA) Student of the Year. Tyburski exemplifies the best of Florida Southern College, which has become nationally recognized for the growing number of high-quality service and engaged learning opportunities available for students.
Tyburski received this prestigious recognition for her work with Centro Las Libres, a Mexican humanitarian organization devoted to protecting women’s rights. She interned with the organization during the summer of 2010 as she strived to free seven women who were believed to be wrongly imprisoned in Mexico. The women, each sentenced to 25-35 years in prison, stated that they had suffered natural miscarriages but were convicted of the crime of abortion. Through long and arduous legal work as well as an intense media and public relations battle, Centro Las Libres was able to get their sentences reduced and all seven women are now free. Tyburski was able to personally visit with them before her return to the United States.
“I feel very privileged to have interned with such a unique organization during my time in Mexico,” said Tyburski. “The relationships I formed and the experiences I had with Centro Las Libres have greatly impacted the way I view the world and how I think through issues. I strongly encourage other students to study abroad and volunteer or intern.”
While working with Centro Las Libres in Guanajuato, Tyburski started and taught an English class for rural women in Mexico which is now being taught by other interns. During her internship, she also drafted and translated informational materials about the organization’s work that were distributed in both English and Spanish, and she co-wrote a funding grant for Centro Las Libres.
Tyburski was nominated for the Student of the Year award by Xuchitl Coso, director of career development at Florida Southern. “I met Samantha four years ago and she has shown herself to be an individual who is focused on giving back and helping others who are less fortunate than herself. Her work with Centro Las Libres was an incredible experience. She has been instrumental in recruiting others to become involved in service activities both locally and globally.”
Tyburski graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in sociology and Spanish from Florida Southern College. She was a leader on campus through her position as president of the Wesley Fellowship, the United Methodist campus ministry. Her exemplary scholarship earned her inclusion on the list of President’s Scholars each semester of her undergraduate career. Students named to the list must have earned a perfect 4.0 grade-point average while carrying at least 15 credit hours during a semester.
Tyburski was also appointed to national honoraries including Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Delta Kappa, Sigma Delta Pi, and Theta Chi Beta. She was recognized as the Outstanding Sophomore and Outstanding Junior by the FSC Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, and was additionally honored by the prestigious appointment of ICUF Presidential Scholar by the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida. She distinguished herself as a resident advisor and Southern Ambassador, where she was a superior representative of Florida Southern in the recruitment process. Tyburski served as vice president of the Spanish Club and was awarded the President’s Scholar Medal for outstanding academics and distinguished citizenship.
In the fall, Tyburski will be attending the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. She has begun the process of becoming a candidate for ordination in the United Methodist Church.
Reporter's note: To view photos of Samantha Tyburski's trip to Mexico, please visit fsc.mocs photostream on Flickr.