Participants are selected for the U.S. Student Fulbright Program based on their academic merit, ability to serve as cultural ambassadors and leadership potential. The prestigious international educational exchange program is funded by the U.S. Department of State.
Since 2003, UofL students have received 60 Fulbright scholarships — more than any other university in Kentucky. UofL was ranked in the top 20 Fulbright-producing schools in the nation in 2010.
Click the arrow beside each of this year’s recipients to read what they have to say about where their work and destinations and to watch them on You Tube:
Baldock will compare the United States’ auditing standards to those of Australia as they relate to fraud and fraud detection. She will conduct her research at the Australian National University College of Business and Economics.
Baldock, a 2011 accountancy graduate, is from Ashland, Ky.
In her words:
My study abroad experience through the University of Louisville’s College of Business provided me with the confidence and desire necessary to actively pursue a Fulbright research grant. Had I not had the opportunity to live, study and travel internationally, I would never have had the self-assurance to apply — nor felt compelled to do so.
My experience at UofL not only prepared me academically, but culturally as well. Growing up in a small Eastern Kentucky town proved to be a stark contrast to both the city of Louisville and the university. My experience here has allowed me to grow as a person and to see the positive effect diversity has on individuals as well as communities.
Following my completion of the Fulbright Australian National University College of Business and Economics Postgraduate Scholarship, I plan to attend law school at UofL.
In practice, I plan to combine a CPA license with a JD, marrying my international financial interests with that of law.
My father is a CPA, and his professional knowledge and success has served as an inspiration.
Bender will conduct breast cancer research in Montpellier, France.
A 2011 summa cum laude graduate, Bender majored in biology and French. He is from Fort Thomas, Ky.
In his words:
During the summer of 2009, I participated in the Montpellier Work Exchange Program through the University of Louisville. My time in France became one of the highlights of my undergraduate career. Through my placement in a hospital, my language skills improved tremendously. Even more significantly, I was given the opportunity to research the French health care system and examine how certain aspects might apply to the American model.
In many ways, I view this Fulbright scholarship as the culmination of my undergraduate experience at UofL. With a double major in biology and in French, it seems that performing breast cancer research in France is the best marriage of the two disciplines.
The results of this study (will) have the ability to significantly advance our current understanding of how cancerous cells spread throughout the body. While this project is very important, the Fulbright program has an even deeper goal for its grantees. Ultimately, the program hopes to build lasting relationships between foreign countries and the United States. The idea that I will be serving as an ambassador of the United States while in France is an enormous responsibility, but also is one that I am very excited to carry. With the world as interconnected and complex as it is today, I believe that there has been no other time in history when cross-cultural collaboration has been as important as it is now.
After completing my Fulbright grant, I will return to the United States where I will matriculate to medical school.… I plan to specialize in medical oncology or in pediatric oncology. While I have been told that these concrete plans will change, I am certain that I will become a physician of some type. Through the AmeriCorps Bonner Leader Program at UofL, I have been able to volunteer in a number of organizations that seek to end health disparities. I hope to continue working to address health inequities in my future medical career through earning an MD/Master of Public Health degree during my medical education.
I aim to use my studies of French in college and my experiences in France through Fulbright to provide medical care in underserved nations as part of an organization like Doctors without Borders. In medicine, I find the amalgam of my innate passion for service to others and my love for the sciences.
Hellmann will research tuberous sclerosis complex at Cardiff University in Wales.
A 2011 graduate in biology, she is from Lakeside Park, Ky.
In her words:
Academically, nothing prepared me more for the scholarship experience doing research at Cardiff than my research experiences so far. While (they) seem very different from each other, they both taught me invaluable lessons about science, the research process and patience. I learned background on the subject matter I will be studying at Cardiff (tuberous sclerosis complex, a tumor disease) during my time researching at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. My time researching a fungus that causes corn tumors at UofL taught me more about tumorigenesis and the unity of life. I learned to make connections across subjects and think critically and creatively to problem solve in the lab.
I am so fortunate to have had so much support to be able to get into a lab (at UofL) for three entire years, both learning the ropes and then completing my own independent project under Dr. Michael Perlin. I was also granted the opportunity to attend an international research conference in Quanajuato, Mexico, to present my work. I don’t take the university’s support for undergrad research lightly; it most definitely shaped my career goals, increased my abilities and qualifications for a scholarship like this, and developed my potential as a scientist.
Research is a long-term process, so I needed a program that would allow me to spend a more extended period of time in another research environment. Furthermore, I felt that being able to personally stretch myself by moving and thriving in a new country would provide a valuable experience to help me in my future endeavors both personally and professionally. When taking into account these two goals, the Fulbright seemed to suit me.
I cannot wait to get to this new place and find my niche while still having so many new things to explore. I am so looking forward to making connections within the international science community. Both learning from these international authorities in research and keeping in close contact with them after I finish my Fulbright year is something I am extremely excited about and grateful for.
I plan to return to the United States and start an MD/PhD program. I plan to stay heavily involved in translational research, but have a clinical side to my career as well. I would love to see both trainings come together to help me do some truly wonderful and useful research. Staying involved in tuberous sclerosis research or other tumor studies would be great, but I am not ruling out other studies.
Rigdon will conduct research on educational outcomes of professional development among Chilean teachers.
A 2009 graduate in economics and Spanish, Rigdon is studying for a master’s degree in economics at Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina. She is from Paducah, Ky.
In her words:
Without the University of Louisville, this opportunity would have never even been possible. Besides teaching me all I know about research, they provided me all the resources to go for such an opportunity.
I am working on a master’s in economics at the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), which is giving me the background in data and statistical methods appropriate for this kind of work at a level that is not part of an undergraduate economics curriculum. My international graduate school experience is a direct result of a study abroad exchange I did in Argentina through the World Scholars Program at UofL.
Also, I was a classified instructor in Jefferson County Schools for three years and in Graves County schools for one year. My experience in the public school system triggered the idea and interest in this project. Specifically, the quality of advice I received from my supervisors and colleagues made me a firm believer in teacher PD and coaching.
When I came to UofL, my aspiration was to simply graduate, but I received an overwhelming amount of encouragement, academic resources and support that opened me up to the realm of possibilities. My economics professors ignited my passion to continue studying in the field in a graduate program. The Latin American Studies program, and of course, my Spanish professors, gave me the intellectual framework to understand modern Latin American society. UofL’s World Scholars Program made my Spanish academics-worthy, and the National Scholarship Office gave encouragement and support without which I would have never had the confidence to apply for such a program. Many educational institutions know how to give and test for knowledge, but it takes a really great institution, like UofL , to inspire and empower students.
Chile is at an incredible historical crossroads in economic development as it was the first South American country admitted to the OECD countries in 2009. However, the legacy of the Pinochet dictatorship left an incredible educational experiment in Chile of a near universal voucher system. Education quality is dramatically stratified in Chile along class and geographical lines, across rich and poor, metropolitan and rural.
Chile’s unique system and a recent ‘exogenous’ policy change on teacher evaluation presented me with what econometricians call a natural experiment. Historically in Chile, the classroom was seen as the impenetrable realm of the teacher, but a 2003 law made teacher evaluation obligatory — as well as professional development for those teachers who received failing grades. I wanted to try to measure and evaluate the effects of this regulation.
After this program, I definitely want to spend some quality time visiting my family and friends in the US after what will be four years living abroad. Then, most likely, I will continue with my studies.
Ultimately, I hope to teach in some form or another again in the future.
Buenos Aires is an incredibly modern city rich in culture and thought, but with a beautiful symphony of the unexpected—like the parrots that flew into the library reading room while I was studying a few weeks ago or the pile of avocados I encountered on the side of the road yesterday.
My few years here have given me enough of these daily reminders that life is peculiar. We can’t determine our futures; the best we can hope to do is seize the day. Which is to say, I look forward to finding out where life’s next adventure will take me!
Works will research judicial reforms and stability in Colombia. He has just finished a year at El Colegio de Mexico in Mexico City.
A 2010 graduate in political science and Spanish, Works is from Independence, Ky.
In his words:
At the University of Louisville I enrolled in Spanish classes and began to develop my written and spoken Spanish. I also began taking courses on Latin America. One political science course, Latin America in the World, triggered my interest in the region’s struggle to consolidate democracy. Since one of my professors has published widely on Latin American judicial reforms, and since I have an abiding interest in law, I was drawn to questions regarding the administration of justice. I grew especially focused on the inability of so many states in the region to administer justice effectively and to ensure that the protection of rights is accessible to even the politically weakest, marginalized groups. Through research on my senior honors thesis, which identified two distinct approaches to judicial reform, exemplified by Colombia and Mexico, I discovered that Colombia has initiated perhaps the most far-reaching reforms. Yet, despite the extent of the reforms, very little research has been conducted on their outcomes. This area of research has valuable scholarly potential given the central role the judiciary will inevitably play in the process of democratic consolidation in most states across the region.
The U.S. Student Fulbright Program has a rich history in providing unique grants to students interested in various countries across the globe. The opportunity to study democratic consolidation and how the judiciary—as an institution—impacts democratic consolidation is uniquely available through this program, and therefore, I sought out the opportunity. The Fulbright program is also a very prestigious scholarship designed to help create better relations among people. Sen. J. William Fulbright once said, ‘Fostering leadership, learning and empathy between cultures was and remains the purpose of the international scholarship program.’ After earning my PhD, I hope to work at the U.S. Department of State, with my ideal aspiration of becoming an ambassador. This scholarship provides an avenue for this career path, but it also serves a much greater role: to increase positive relations among people. That is the primary reason for selecting the Fulbright program.
I am most looking forward to continuing my research on institution building and democracy as it pertains to Latin America. I have had considerable access to numerous academics and politicians while at El Colegio de México, and I hope that I can continue my research with similar types of connections. La Universidad de los Andes, where I will complete my Fulbright, is considered among the very best universities in Latin America as well, and the political science program offers unique opportunities and government access to successfully carry out my proposed plan of study. I am also looking forward to absorbing and learning about Colombian culture. This study will help me expand my understanding of Latin America past Mexico.
Upon completion of my Fulbright, I will attend the University of Cambridge, St John’s College, to complete my MPhil in Latin American Studies. I plan to earn a DPhil or PhD after the completion of my MPhil in international relations or comparative politics.
I do not plan to enter academia just yet after obtaining my doctorate. Nonetheless, I do plan to eventually teach and conduct research as an academic.
I am originally from Northern Kentucky. I grew up on a small farm, and it was this farm that first introduced me to Spanish culture and language. My father each year hired a small group of migrant workers, and these workers became part of my family. This served as the first inspiration to study Spanish, which led to my desire to further study Latin America.
Bennett will teach English in Turkey.
A 2011 magna cum laude graduate, Bennett majored in anthropology. She is from Henderson, Ky.
In her words:
Working in libraries for almost six years has allowed me to gain valuable people skills and a strong work ethic. I have learned how to effectively navigate my way through databases, how to locate materials in the library, how to operate microform machines, and, in turn, how to teach this information to others. I intend to apply the knowledge and skills I have acquired through my library work to my position as a Fulbright ETA.
The honors program and anthropology department have both greatly prepared me for the Fulbright program. As relatively small departments, both have been able to offer more individualized attention than I encountered in other, larger programs. This commitment helped me to pursue more than I might have otherwise. I may not have even applied for a Fulbright ETA if it had not been for the encouragement of one of my anthropology professors.
The anthropology department allowed me to enhance my education through an internship and in-depth research. I was able to complete an internship at a local refugee resettlement agency that gave me hands-on experience working with individuals of other cultures. Through the anthropology and honors departments, I was able to complete a senior honors thesis regarding ethnicity in Turkey. The overall focus of the anthropology department on critical thinking and writing skills has prepared me to instruct others in the English language. Moreover, the field of anthropology’s emphasis on understanding cultures other than one’s own has equipped me with the skills I need to travel to a foreign country.
I chose to apply for a Fulbright for the opportunity to travel outside the country to help others for an extended amount of time. The Fulbright program also interested me due to the prestige of the program and all the benefits it provides.
I am most looking forward to working with and learning from Turkish university students. I am also looking forward to learning the Turkish language, deepening my understanding of Turkish society.
Upon the completion of my Fulbright grant in summer 2012, I plan to complete a yearlong AmeriCorps VISTA position. This will allow me to have time to become acclimated back to the US before beginning graduate school in 2013.
I plan to obtain my masters in either cross-cultural psychology or cultural anthropology and to work with the refugee and international population either in a clinical or library setting.
My interest in Turkey began during my junior year in high school when a foreign exchange student from Istanbul, named Ayse, became one of my new classmates. I was finally able to see Turkey for myself last summer with help from the university’s study abroad office and the KIIS program. Taking this trip to Turkey and my long interest in the country helped me in crafting my Fulbright application.
Fossaluzza will teach English in an elementary school in South Korea.
Fossaluzza is pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching and is expected to complete it in 2013. A 2010 UofL graduate, she is from Louisville.
In her words:
My experience with students that speak English at various levels has best prepared me for my year in South Korea. My time volunteering at Americana (Community Center) and Iroquois Library, and working at a Space Camp in Turkey have all been amazing experiences with English language learners. My experience living abroad has also prepared me to live in South Korea; I know what it is like to be in a country without knowing the language upon arrival, and the difficulty and hilarity that always ensues.
I never would have known about this program if it weren’t for Dr. John Cumbler. He pushed me as I worked on my undergraduate degree in history and is largely responsible for making me realize what I am capable of, and all of the amazing opportunities that are out there. Working with Dr. Pat Condon and Seabrook Jones has been a great experience, and I feel so lucky to have had their help through the application process. They were there every step of the way and have done an amazing job preparing all of us for our Fulbright experience.
I chose this scholarship because the moment I found out about it, I knew it was perfect for me. As someone who loves working with kids, is studying to be a teacher, and is an ardent traveler, I couldn’t imagine an opportunity more fitting.
I can’t wait to meet my students and see the ways in which they learn English. I look forward to learning Korean, trying as much Korean food as possible, learning more about their rich history by traveling all over the country and really establishing a life there.
After returning from Korea I will continue working on my Master of Arts in Teaching degree. I plan on teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) in an elementary school. I also plan on continuing to find opportunities to travel. I still have a long list of places I need to experience.
Hall will teach English to students in Macau.
A 2011 graduate in economics, she is from Brooks, Ky.
In her words:
My summer study abroad in China last summer as part of my McConnell Scholarship along with my participation in English clubs in Vietnam played a key role in preparing me for this adventure. Experiencing culture firsthand vastly differs from reading literature about peoples and places around the world. Being able to observe the differences in Asian cultures while learning the talent of thriving out of a suitcase has prepared me to take these 10 months of opportunity in Macau and turn them into something magnificent.
Although the University of Louisville hosts thousands of students, the faculty make the large campus feel more like a family. Applying for this scholarship took many hours spread across several weeks, and each step of the way Dr. (Patricia) Condon, Seabrook Jones, and so many other faces were volunteering their services to ensure the success of myself and many others applying for scholarships. The extra effort, encouragement and assistance from those who will not be boarding the plane with me this August summed up just how wonderful my four years at UofL have been. From Ivy League caliber seminars as part of the McConnell Scholars Program to Chinese Language classes, and so much more, I am grateful for all UofL has done to prepare me for my next adventure. The dedication my alma mater has to its students goes to show that it’s more than just a slogan — it really is happening here.
Three friends of mine received the Fulbright scholarships last year and I have enjoyed following their journeys. The Fulbright program is a widely respected and well-structured program with opportunities that match many of my goals and desires.
Living abroad as a Fulbright Fellow for 10 months is packed with so much opportunity that it is hard to narrow down to one most exciting feature. My previous travels to China and Vietnam have left a part of my heart in Asia, and I am excited to reconnect with a culture so different from, yet so similar to, my own. Teaching and tutoring have been passions of mine which blossomed most about five years ago when I founded a reading tutoring program called ‘Success Literally.’ Since then, I have tutored through JCPS’ Every1Reads program, taught classes at my church and ventured to Vietnam to teach college students English. While my goal is to teach the students in Macau as much as possible, I fully expect I will also learn much from them in the process.
A year abroad may very well influence where I see myself in August 2012, but at this point I intend to either pursue an MBA or attend law school in hopes of applying that education and my experiences abroad to a future business position.
I’ve always had the mind of an entrepreneur. When I was in elementary school, I created a menu for my future coffee shop. Perhaps someday this dream will come true, though I’d like to think I will have an updated menu. Other than that, life for me long term will be comprised of serving my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on whatever adventures He takes me and spending time with the wonderful family and friends I have been so blessed to have in my life.
As part of the Fulbright scholarship application process, I was required to write two one-page essays about myself and my plans for teaching in Macau. My introduction to one of the essays was inspired by my first grade teacher, Mrs. Boggs. Her famous motto in teaching our class was to use ‘E and E’ — that is, to read with ‘expression and enthusiasm.’ The concepts of expression and enthusiasm have not only been guiding principles in my reading, but also in my life and this application process. I wonder if the thought ever crossed Mrs. Boggs’ mind that 15 years later, a student of hers would win an international scholarship because of something she had said. I think there’s a lesson in that for all of us: never underestimate your ability to impact the lives of others, and with that, always try to make the impact a positive, lasting one.
Helms will teach English in Kosovo. A 2011 graduate in political science, he is from Owensboro, Ky.
In his words:
My family has traveled within the United States since I was young, which introduced a passion and curiosity for travel early in my life. My experiences in Greece during my study-abroad semester in the fall semester of my junior year gave me the confidence and background necessary for solitary travel and stirred a passion for Southeast Europe as a whole.
Through the McConnell Scholarship program I have been exposed to viewpoints and fields of study I otherwise might never have explored, including various areas of history and political science. With the generous financial support of the center, I have been able to follow these new curiosities through a semester in Greece, six weeks in China and six weeks in Turkey-all experiences which have expanded my knowledge and increased my curiosity of the world beyond our borders. My political science courses, particularly those dealing with international issues, have provided me with the conceptual framework to analyze and explore political and historical issues meaningfully and academically. My philosophy courses have allowed me to understand the development of ideologies and the importance of their implications upon the political and cultural landscape of a place, as well as providing me with the cognitive background necessary to examine such ideas critically.
I have been interested in the Balkans since my travels in Greece led me to modern Balkan literature and history. This fascination has expanded to include international relations, international law and linguistic studies in the same region. The opportunity to spend nearly a year on site, learning the language and culture of a former Yugoslav state firsthand, provided a nearly irresistible pull. The flexibility of the Fulbright ETA program will provide me with the time and opportunity for both exploration and productivity.
I am extremely excited to get my first opportunity to teach in a structured setting, particularly in a setting that will allow for extensive cultural exchange and dialogue. The time period I will have in Kosovo will allow me to gain some level of competency in one of the native languages, which will increase my ability to discuss the very recent effects of American and United Nations policy upon a newly developing polity.
My future plans remain flexible, but after Fulbright I intend to pursue a master’s degree in international relations or Balkan studies, eventually culminating in a PhD in a related field. Ultimately I intend to become a university professor, while continuing to study and travel broadly, incorporating both academics and personal experiences in my future career.
Johnson will teach English in Malaysia.
A 2011 summa cum laude graduate with a major in political science, he is from Symsonia, Ky.
In his words:
Everything from the Fulbright application process to the actual program itself is unique and I don’t think that anything I had done before truly prepared me for the experience. It is an intense process and I could not have made it through without the guidance and assistance of the UofL faculty and staff. As far as the actual teaching in Malaysia, I believe past volunteer projects in tutoring and counseling have provided me with experience in instructing and leading young students. Honestly, Malaysia will be much different than anything I am accustomed to; however, I believe the lessons from my brief, but enlightening study abroad experience in Spain will help me adapt to a new environment.
The University of Louisville provides plenty of resources for its students. The only requirement is that the student has the desire to seek these services and the individuals at the university who know how to get a student from point A to point B.
I was lucky because of the support and challenges I received from friends in the Honors program and the guidance I received from those at UofL. My honors adviser, Luke Buckman, helped me plan my four years at UofL in a way that would be academically challenging and rewarding. Ultimately, this put me in a position to walk into the office of Dr. Patricia Condon, the associate director of the honors program, and discuss my plans for the future and the possibility of winning a competitive national scholarship. (Seek out your opportunity and go visit Dr. Condon; it may just change your life.) I would also be remiss if I did not emphasize the importance of my diverse, challenging classes at the university. My studies emphasized the importance of seeking constant personal growth through exploration in academics.
The ETA to Malaysia will provide me with … opportunities … to immerse myself in a foreign culture, learn valuable language skills, contribute to the lives of young students, and ultimately, serve as a valuable ambassador for my country, school and city.
I think that regardless of where someone travels for a scholarship program, the people are really the greatest joy and in some cases the greatest challenge. When I have been abroad before, I have always been treated exceptionally well despite being from somewhere else. I hope to connect to the members of the community and most importantly, to the students in the classroom. I believe that there is a lot to learn in this program and I intend to treat everyday like a learning opportunity. With that said, I’m also really interested in the cuisine, beaches, government, Malay history, and the biodiversity of Malaysia.
I will return to the United States in the fall of 2012 and at that point I will begin applying for law schools. I hope to find a temporary job that will allow me to utilize my past experience and skills acquired in my time at UofL and in Malaysia before beginning law school. Although I am not sure what I will study or where I will attend, I am most interested in international law and alternative dispute resolution.
I want to practice law and one day I hope to work for the federal government in some capacity, however, I’m not for sure in what order I will pursue my goals. In the long-term, I hope to have experience in both the public and private side of legal work and to be in a position that allows me to contribute and support charitable efforts at home and abroad.
Cynthia Martinez will teach English to students in Brazil.
A lecturer in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages, she is a 2010 master’s graduate in Spanish. Martinez is from Louisville.
In her words:
Though I’ve always had an interest in teaching, it was not until I became a graduate student at UofL that I actually experienced formal classroom teaching as a GTA. In addition to giving me practice and experience, this experience increased my interest and solidified my decision to continue teaching. This is the aspect of my background that has made me feel most prepared to teach as a Fulbright English teaching assistant in Brazil.
In addition to the aforementioned teaching experience, UofL also offered Portuguese courses and study abroad opportunities to Brazil, which I was involved in as a graduate student in Spanish. As well as taking two years of Portuguese courses at UofL, I studied abroad in Brazil for a month in the summer of 2009. These experiences have prepared me for my future assignment.
For years I have been interested in teaching abroad. I have always known Fulbright to be a prestigious and highly recognized program that I feel lucky to get to be a part of. My particular interests in Brazil lie in the country’s language, culture and people. As a student of Spanish and the culture of Latin America, I’ve developed an interest in the Portuguese language and will certainly be able to practice it by living in Brazil for nine months! Also, through my previous visits to Brazil, I’ve been fascinated by several facets of the country’s culture; namely the mixture of peoples that have come to represent Brazilian culture.
I’m most looking forward to experiencing daily life in a different country (the people, the language, the food, the music, etc.).
After finishing this program, I hope to apply to PhD programs in Spanish in the United States (and) to become a professor of Spanish at the university level.
Moran will teach English in a rural province of Malaysia.
A 2011 summa cum laude graduate with majors in English, history and humanities, Moran is from Alexandria, Ky.
In her words:
My parents have always instilled in me a good work ethic. Everything I’ve achieved has been because of their love and support.
Taking classes in Scotland through the English-Speaking Union was one of the instrumental factors that helped prepare me for this scholarship experience. Spending time abroad increased my interest in traveling and experiencing new cultures.
Dr. Condon and Seabrook Jones have been absolutely instrumental in helping me prepare for the scholarship experience. They gave great advice on interviewing and applications, and I know they were an invaluable component in receiving this honor.
I chose to apply for an ETA Malaysia because I was fascinated by the demographics of the population. Malaysia is a Muslim country ruled by Sharia law and has a culture influenced by nearby countries. Malaysia’s population consists of indigenous Malays, Buddhist immigrants from China, and Hindu immigrants from India. While teaching English in Malaysia, I plan to look at the influence immigrant culture has had on indigenous folklore and fairytales, and encourage my students to use their own knowledge of Malaysian folk culture to practice their English skills.
I’m looking forward to watching wayang kulit, or shadow puppet plays, which are native to that area of the world. I also am excited about traveling around the region and learning a little bit of Malay!
After finishing this program, I plan to enroll in graduate school.
In the long term, I plan on getting a (Master of Fine Arts degree) in creative writing and becoming a published author.
Nguyen will teach English to students in Madrid, Spain.
A 2011 graduate in English, she is from Union, Ky.
In her words:
My yearlong studies abroad in China and Chile are good preparation for my Fulbright experience. Being an English major has honed my reading, writing and English skills to give me the tools I need to be a good English teacher.
I wanted to go to Spain to improve my Spanish and have the chance to explore Europe. I am excited about being surrounded by Spanish so that I am forced to use the Spanish I have and improve it.
After this program, I will either pursue a PhD in English or go to law school. I will either be an English professor or a lawyer.
Erica Summe will be an English language-learning assistant at an English teacher training college in Argentina.
A 2011 graduate in political science and Spanish, she is from Florence, Ky.
In her words:
I have had a lifelong love of travel. This interest was encouraged from an early age with many family vacations to American cultural and historical landmarks as well as trips overseas; each vacation had a tight schedule and a list of activities for maximum learning potential. Additionally, my study abroad experiences to Spain and the International Honors Seminar to Taiwan and China further encouraged my interests in foreign cultures. Traveling across the United States and abroad helped me to appreciate the differences in other cultures, but more important, to recognize our commonalities. Even as a child, these experiences sparked my interest in the international, a fascination that has only intensified as I have grown older.
There are many elements from my time at the University of Louisville that helped to prepare me for this scholarship experience. Through the Spanish, political science and Latin American studies departments, I have had many courses concerning Latin American politics, culture, and, of course, the Spanish language. Furthermore, I have pursued internships at the Americana Community Center which have given me experiences teaching English as a second language to newly arrived refugees and immigrants. This has allowed me to develop creative teaching ideas to utilize in Argentina. I have also interned at La Casa Latina, which has allowed me to practice my Spanish skills outside the classroom, as well as help the Hispanic community in Louisville. Additionally, the continuous support of my professors, as well as the help of Dr. (Patricia) Condon and Seabrook Jones through the application process, was vital throughout my Fulbright journey. UofL has certainly contributed to my personal growth, and I am not sure if I would have considered applying for such a daunting, yet truly rewarding, scholarship had it not been for the great opportunities I have had here over the past four years.
I chose to pursue a Fulbright English teaching assistantship to Argentina because it will contribute to my personal and future development by incorporating my political, linguistic and cultural interests in South America. Cultural immersion would profoundly accelerate my goal to hone my Spanish language fluency and develop a much more nuanced understanding of the distinctive Argentine region and dialect. Additionally, assisting future educators in Argentina will afford me an invaluable opportunity for educational and cultural exchange, as well as applicable and professional experience in an international environment.
I look forward to exploring the Argentine culture, teaching English and improving my Spanish language skills. I have learned a lot about this area of the world and cannot wait to explore Argentina and South America, both places I have never been. The Fulbright program was created to promote cultural understanding, and I look forward to contributing to this cause. I look forward to being a cultural ambassador for the United States, as well as learning about a new way of life and making friends in Argentina.
I have also received a position with Teach for America to teach high school English in Jacksonville, Fla. Upon return from Argentina, I hope to honor this commitment, and attend graduate school.
My ultimate goal is to pursue a degree in public policy and international affairs. I am confident my Fulbright experience will help me to prepare for, and encourage me to pursue a career in policy and work in the international arena.