The Fulbright U.S. Student Program, designed to offer study and teaching opportunities to recent graduates and/or graduate students, is a competitive scholarship program that gives participants the ability to travel to any of the 140 countries they sponsor, in order to foster bridges between cultures.
Despite Fulbrighter spots being limited, two Marian University recent graduates, Andrea Stanley and Melissa Duong, have received scholarships. Andrea will travel to Austria in September, COVID-19 willing, and Melissa plans to study in South Korea, though plans are currently up in the air due to COVID-19.
“I initially heard about [Fulbright] because a good friend of mine and Marian alumna, Mary Carper, was named a finalist for Colombia,” Stanley said. “That same year, another friend and alumna of Marian, Emily Neice, was named a finalist for Fulbright Germany.”
Stanley said that after talking with her advisor, Anna Zimmerman, Ph.D., she then spoke with Wendy Westphal, Ph.D., director of study abroad, who urged her to apply.
“When I studied abroad last summer in Salzburg, I happened to meet someone from the States and Ireland who were finishing their time as Fulbright teaching assistants,” Stanley said. “So I knew that they existed in Austria.”
After mentioning her desire to apply to her debate coach, Drew Stewart, director of forensics and assistant professor of communication, he offered to put her in touch with a former student of his who had been named a finalist for the program. From there, she was set to apply.
“In the middle of January, I submitted the application form, a personal statement, and a CV (curriculum vitae), which is the equivalent of a U.S. resume,” Stanley said. “Accompanying my documents, I had two mentors submit reference letters, and then my German professor submitted a language evaluation on my knowledge of their native language, German. After that, I just waited.”
Stanley plans to teach English to both high school and college age students in English, as part of their U.S. Teaching Assistantships at Austrian Secondary Schools (USTA) scholarship program.
While she’s not too certain about her other responsibilities, she said that, “I'm excited for any prospect of meeting other colleagues and exploring further cultures or adventures. I've always wanted to travel and experience the world ever since I was young. It's like a dream come true. So don't ever think that your dreams are so unreachable. You may surprise yourself once you try.”
Rising seniors and/or those who will enter graduate programs next year are encouraged to apply to Fulbright scholarships via us.fulbrightonline.org, or contact Dr. Westphal for similar scholarship opportunities.