Student receives one of 21 nationwide scholarships

Dustin Chacón, a linguistic student proficient in six languages, was named a 2009 Beinecke winner.

Dustin Chacón , a linguistics junior, was named a winner of a Beinecke Scholarship last week, this yearâÄôs only University of Minnesota student to receive the honor. Created in 1971, the Beinecke Scholarship Program was instituted to honor Edwin, Frederick and Walter Beinecke, three brothers who took Sperry and Hutchinson Co., formerly known as S&H Greenstamps, from a small marketing corporation built in the 1920s to a $350 million enterprise by 1970. Yearly, 21 Beinecke Scholarships are given to college juniors pursuing graduate school. Chacón is the third student from the University to win this scholarship, all of which won in the last four years. He joins Jeffrey Hunger (2008) and Sarah Hampton (2006). âÄúIt was kind of mind blowing. I wasnâÄôt really expecting to win,âÄù Chacón said. Each recipient of the scholarship is given $4,000 prior to graduate school and an additional $30,000 once they are enrolled. Chacón is proficient in six languages âÄî English, Spanish, Bengali, Hindi, French and Portuguese âÄî and his professors have let him participate in doctoral classes as an undergraduate. Linguistics professor Jeanette Gundel worked with Chacón on a grant application through the National Science Foundation for research examining expressions across languages. She said she was amazed with ChacónâÄôs abilities compared to any student that she has seen in her 30 years of teaching. âÄúHeâÄôs one of the best students IâÄôve ever had, either graduate or undergraduate,âÄù she said. âÄúHeâÄôs very special.âÄù Hooi Soh , another linguistics professor who has worked with Chacón, agreed that Chacón was one of the finest students she has ever taught. Chacón said feeling comfortable in the linguistics program paved the way for research and participating in weekly department events. âÄúI love it. ItâÄôs been a blast,âÄù he said. Chacón gives a great deal of credit to the linguistics department for his success. âÄúThe professors know all the students really well, and theyâÄôre very keen in helping us develop our own interests in the field,âÄù Chacón said. Chacón was raised by his mother in Rapid City, N.D. His mother suffers from spinal stenosis, which makes walking difficult and painful. Growing up, Chacón took over housekeeping in high school in order to relieve his mother. Despite the struggle of caring for his mother, Chacón made school his top priority, and said his mother would advocate the same philosophy. Upon arriving at the University, Chacón volunteered for University Disability Services . He said that assisting his mother led to his involvement. Chacón is still undecided on which graduate school he will attend, but he is strongly considering the University of Southern California and the University of Maryland . In the future, he wants to stay in academia and become either a professor or a linguistics researcher.