If you want to study or teach internationally after graduating from college, there are few more prestigious opportunities than the Fulbright Program. Established by Congress in 1946 and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, each year the program sends some of the nation’s brightest and most ambitious students across the world to continue their education or to teach English in countries from Afghanistan to Zambia.
Six Baylor students and recent graduates were selected as Fulbright Scholars this spring. Three will pursue advanced studies abroad, in The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Mexico, while three others will serve as English Teaching Assistants in Indonesia, Russia and Turkey. All spoke of how well Baylor prepared them for an opportunity like the Fulbright, and in turn how the Fulbright experience will benefit them in their careers and in life.
“My decision to come to Baylor wasn’t an easy one to make,” said senior Huong Nguyen, a medical humanities/pre-med major from Houston who will pursue a master’s of science in health sciences and public health research at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. “But I researched Baylor, and I knew I wanted to go to a school that excelled academically and one that would provide me with spiritual guidance. The moment that ‘sealed the deal’ was when I visited the campus and saw the Baylor Sciences Building. I don’t know if everyone has had the same feeling, but I knew I belonged. Baylor was calling, and I wanted to answer. Home is where the heart is, and for the past four years, Baylor’s had mine!”
“I liked that Baylor is large enough to provide opportunities for its students, but not so large as to be overwhelming,” said senior Rachel Cliburn, a neuroscience/pre-med major from Long Grove, Ill., who will conduct research in neuropharmacology through a master’s degree research program in neuropsychology at the University of Maastricht, in The Netherlands. “I also liked how Baylor values the maturation of students’ faith while maintaining a diverse and open environment. I wanted to major in neuroscience, and Baylor has a great science program and beautiful facilities.”
“I studied abroad with a Baylor exchange program at Boðaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey, in fall 2010 and fell in love with everything from their pace of life to their hospitality and the tea,” said Elizabeth Dratz, BBA ’12, who is headed back to Turkey to teach English at a university. “My time at Baylor has allowed me to continue to hone my passion for Turkey, specifically its economics and history. Spending a year in Turkey will not only improve my Turkish and abilities to read primary source documents but also hopefully provide me some contacts at the university level with whom to collect data, conduct research and write papers in the future.”
“I really wanted the Fulbright scholarship so that I could travel to Russia, not as a tourist or a worker, but as a student and a servant,” said senior Elisabeth Black, a Russian/international studies major from Dallas who will spend the next year teaching English at either a high school or university in Russia. “I thought that going into Russia from that standpoint would increase my chances of building relationships with the Russian people, learning about their culture and sharing my culture and history.”
“After the Fulbright grant, I plan to build upon my graduate studies in Mexico and pursue a dual master’s degree in public policy and international development to be a bridge between local and international business, public policy and social development efforts in the United States and abroad,” said Jackie Hyland, BA ’09. an international studies/journalism graduate who will spend the next year working for an international company in Mexico City while studying international business, business development and social entrepreneurship. “I hope to continue academic research and hands-on work in economic and entrepreneurship development in Latin America with a special focus on women, U.S. immigrants and indigenous groups.”
“The ability to empower others has always been a source of motivation for me,” said Ross Natividad, BA ’10, a master’s candidate in Spanish who is headed to Indonesia to teach English to high school students. “The Fulbright program will provide me added international experience and awareness needed for immigration law, which is the field of study I plan to pursue upon returning to the United States. I want to provide legal services to immigrants aspiring to live the American Dream. In order to do so, I know I must develop skills that will help me interact with, relate to, and represent people from different cultures. Whether through language or the law, I am at my best helping others gain the tools they need for a better life.”
Sic ’em, Baylor Fulbright recipients!