Fellowship excellence continues

Puget Sound has consistently been one of the top 30 bachelor’s degree institutions in the nation, and the four students recently named Fulbright Scholars continued this tradition.

The Fulbright Scholar is a national, highly competitive program that annually awards 1,700 students with a grant that allows them to teach and conduct research in over 130 countries. It was founded in 1946 and since its inception it has given over 300,000 participants the opportunity to become involved with the world around them

There are two types of Fulbright programs. The first is a Teaching Fulbright, which involves a year of teaching English at an institution outside the U.S. and sometimes involves extra-curricular research. The second is a Study/Research Fulbright in which students study at a host institution outside the U.S.

Last year 6 Puget Sounds students were awarded the Fulbright Scholarship and traveled to research and teach in Peru, Germany and France.

“Our students aim high and achieve with distinction, not only in their studies, but in the passion and commitment they express in making a difference in the world, as the national recognition demonstrates,” President Ronald Thomas said.

This year four distinguished seniors were awarded Fulbright recognition: KC Cox, Jill Nguyen, Mark Maples and Sam Fielding. Cox and Nguyen are in Germany and Maples and Fielding are in Taiwan teaching and researching.

Nguyen has the unique opportunity of teaching at a school called Staatliche Ballettschule und Schule für Artistik, a public ballet and acrobatic arts school.

“The students are either studying ballet or acrobatics so they’re very disciplined and ambitious,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen had been to Germany twice before her current experience there.  She reflected that it has been difficult to adapt to living in a big city. Along with their duties, Fulbright Scholars are allocated as much free time as possible because Fulbright encourages the scholars to assimilate and integrate into their respective country’s society and culture.

Some scholars assume the role of an English Teaching Assistant, which entails working 12 hours a week in the classroom with another teacher in order to assist the students in learning English.

“English Teaching Assistants are cultural liaisons in promoting understanding between our students and us,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen reflected that most of her responsibilities are to support her teachers at the school in the English classes. This includes providing clarification in the realm of American culture and anything related to English grammar, slang and other peculiarities.

The responsibility of the various Fulbrights changes based upon their location. It is usually up to the school and teachers how they want to best use the skills of the scholars.

Becoming a Fulbright scholar is a huge honor in the academic world. Puget Sound is especially lucky to be able to produce quality students each year worthy of such an achievement.