Astoria graduate Reynaldo Goicochea has earned the Rackham Master’s Fellowship Award for full-time study at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

The son of Jose and Berta Goicochea graduated from Astoria High School in 2009 and is set to graduate in May from Willamette University in Salem. He has a double major in rhetoric and Spanish.

“During my undergraduate years, I have been involved in a variety of community service and nonprofit activities,” Reynaldo Goicochea reported in an email. “I currently work at the Salem Family Literacy Program, a small nonprofit that offers teen mothers the opportunity to continue their education. I bring in guest speakers, try to find donations and promote the program in the community.” He was recently featured in a newspaper article teaching poetry in Spanish at the Oregon State Penitentiary.

“Rey is one of the most compassionate, talented and driven young men with whom I have had the opportunity to work with,” said AHS?Principal Lynn Jackson.

Goicochea hopes to enter a career of public service in Oregon after his time in Michigan.

“My plan is to eventually return to Oregon, run for public office, and continue giving back the state that has given me so much. I look forward to the day that I can work to improve the lives of all Oregonians, including those in the rural areas like my hometown of Astoria.”

Jackson said, “One of my first memories regarding Reynaldo Goicochea, prior to being able to know him personally, was hearing that as a freshmen he was voted most likely to be the governor.

“Now, eight years later, we can witness the great accomplishments and service that he has achieved in his own academic pursuits as well as for the service of those with whom he associates.”

The Rackham Merit Fellowship

The Rackham award includes full tuition and fees, a stipend for all four semesters of study, and health care.

The Rackham Merit Fellowship is described as a competitive fellowship that “recognizes entering students who have outstanding academic qualifications, show exceptional potential for scholarly success in their graduate program, and demonstrate promise for contributing to wider academic, professional or civic communities.”

Goicochea says he is humbled by the award and looks forward to continuing his studies in Michigan. “When I first opened the email and read that I had been awarded a full ride, I started crying,” he reported. “I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to have been given such an incredible opportunity. I’d like to thank my family, my faith and my friends for always giving me the support I needed to keep believing in myself.”

The Ford School’s Social Policy program is No. 1 in the country, according to the U.S. News and World Report’s 2012 ranking, tying for first place with Harvard.

Jackson said, “Reynaldo is a humble individual who deserves all the praises that society can evoke. The University of Michigan has chosen wisely in investing in the future of this current and future great leader.”

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