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Meet UofL's 2010 Fulbright recipients - all 14 of them

by UofL Today Staff last modified Aug 30, 2010 08:33 AM

Fourteen University of Louisville students or recent graduates have received Fulbright teaching or research awards in 2010. That number is a record not only for the university, but also for Kentucky, and it places UofL among the top Fulbright-producing institutions in the United States.

Participants are selected for the Fulbright Student 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 46 Fulbright scholarships — more than any other university in Kentucky.

This year’s UofL recipients are:

Research Awards

Brian Goessling

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Brian Goessling

Goessling completed his graduate degree in electrical engineering in summer 2010. He will use his research grant to study at the University of Freiburg’s Institute of Microsystems Engineering and participate in a research project about micro-energy harvesting. At UofL, Goessling was active in the Speed School Student Council, the Resources for Academic Achievement (REACH) program, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and Catholic Campus Ministry.

In his words:

Overall, the experience at Speed School greatly enabled and prepared me for this scholarship experience. From my electrical engineering courses to my three semesters co-oping in Chicago, I have had both the academic preparation and the chance to grow as an individual. One semester in Chicago, I had the opportunity to take a German language course at the Goethe Institut. My classmates came from all over the world and the experience really inspired me to travel.

To craft a research proposal designed for my unique interests while being fully supported by a scholarship would be a dream come true. Fulbright was something, however, that I would have never thought to apply for. It was too much of a dream to become a reality. It was too selective, too daunting. However, throughout the preparation and application process, I developed and matured greatly. Picking a research topic, contacting and securing a German research affiliation, learning German as much as I can, and now finding housing and preparing myself for Germany—the process even up to this point has helped me grow by challenging me to go out of my comfort zone. Through the support and encouragement from my Honors adviser and my Fulbright committee, Fulbright became a reality.

To study and research a year in a foreign country is an amazing opportunity. It will allow me to transcend merely being a tourist, giving me the opportunity to become a temporary citizen of a city, country and culture different from that of the USA, while participating in very relevant research on micro-energy harvesting. Although the specialization and expert knowledge I will attain will truly serve me well in my future, I think overall I am most looking forward to becoming part of a different culture for a time, opening up my worldview and becoming fluent in a language I barely have the opportunity to speak in my everyday life here.

After finishing the program, I plan to enroll in a PhD program to further research energy harvesting and its possible applications. After graduating from a PhD program, I plan to pursue an international career in research and design utilizing microsystem technology.

Carolyn Morgan

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Carolyn Morgan

Morgan, a spring 2010 UofL master's graduate will study the effects of immigration on voter behavior in Germany.

While at UofL, Morgan was a political science major active in the Graduate Student Council. This spring she received the Graduate Dean's Citation Award and the Kentucky Political Science Association's award for best graduate paper.

She plans to begin her doctoral studies in comparative politics and political psychology at The Ohio State University next year.

In her words:

I would definitely have to attribute studying in Freiburg, Germany, as an undergraduate as the best experience that helped me prepare for the Fulbright. Not only did it strengthen my fervor to study European voter behavior, it also gave me a taste of how it is to live on my own in a foreign country. Additionally, my mentors helped me to formulate my research questions and prepare me for my Fulbright by pushing me to my limits, providing valuable insight, and always supporting my research.

Without Dr. (Patricia) Condon, Dr. (Julie) Bunck, and professor (Michael) Fowler, there is a high likelihood that I would not have applied for the Fulbright. Their support, encouragement and persistence helped me realize that I was a viable candidate and reinforced my drive to apply for the scholarship. Dr. Condon and Seabrook Jones played a vital role in helping me prepare for the scholarship itself, while my mentors in the political science department prepared me with the research tools that I will need next year.

The Fulbright Scholarship allows me the flexibility to conduct my research at my own pace, while also providing support that I would not have otherwise found. The Fulbright scholarship also provides me the opportunity to research particular sectors of the European (in particular German) public, to utilize German university resources and to work with some of the leading immigration and voting behavior scholars in Germany. I am looking forward to living in Rostock, a part of the country that I have never visited. Also, I am looking forward to meeting and working with many of the scholars whom I have read and cited throughout my academic career.

When I return to the United States, I will begin my PhD studies at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, concentrating on comparative politics and political psychology.

Sarah Oesterly

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Sarah Oesterly

Oesterly, a 2009 UofL graduate, will go to Peru to work at a museum where she will help preserve the cultural history of the small Colca Valley town of Tuti.

Oesterly majored in fine arts, anthropology and Spanish, and minored in Latin American Studies, and she studied at the University of Guanajuato in Mexico through the World Scholars program.

In her words:

I came into the university as an art major, but as I took more classes I realized I wanted to capitalize on my years at UofL and try to have as many experiences as I could in several fields. I was always attracted to multi-disciplinary research; finding out how two fields can complement each other. Although there were some who worried that I took on too much of a course load, the majority of professors were excited to see how each field influenced my work in the other. I was able to do ethnographic studies on art galleries and research the art of Mexico in Spanish.

I wanted to work in a Spanish-speaking country and find a project that would let me be involved in anthropology. (The museum is) in the area where archeological excavations had been taking place. I knew I would be able to be near the sites I wanted to see, but also get to work on exhibitions and history, experience that would help me in any exhibition planning in an art museum or gallery later on.

I'm looking to living in a Spanish-speaking country again and feeling the surprise of letting my thoughts start to convert themselves into my second language. I am excited to be the outsider and to give myself a break to pay attention to the details of life and have an excuse to go on excursions.

After living in Mexico and getting to see the pyramids of the Aztecs and Mayas, I am looking forward to discovering the remnants of the Inca civilization, the only other comparable civilization in size and power in the Americas. The Colca Valley was actually home to a couple of native groups who had to survive both Incan and European invasions. After finishing the program, I may take one more half year/year to settle back into the United States and get a position with an art gallery or museum while I prepare my application for an art history program which would allow me to pursue anthropology classes and museum studies.

Venkat Ramakrishnan

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Venkat Ramakrishnan

Ramakrishnan, a spring 2010 UofL graduate, will conduct tissue engineering research at the University Hospital Zurich (Switzerland). This summer he is conducting prostate cancer research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Ramakrishnan was a biology major and Guaranteed Entrance to Medical School (GEMS) program participant. He conducted prostate cancer research at Washington University School of Medicine and bone biomaterials research at UofL School of Medicine and University of Kentucky Center for Biomedical Engineering.

In his words:

I was fortunate to have had exposure to research starting in high school. That early experience, I believe, provided me with the confidence and momentum to perform research throughout my undergraduate career. Once the research bug bites you, I think it can push you to great lengths.

Doing my own research allowed me to appreciate work done by others. That's how I discovered my Fulbright project. I was reading through some of the interesting work going on at Wake Forest University having to do with tissue regeneration. Given my interest in urologic research, one thing led to another and soon, I was able to find a lab that conducted urologic tissue engineering research.

UofL provided me with a quality education. I think that this year's impressive batch of (Fulbright) winners is a testament to that fact. The Fulbright is a prestigious scholarship, and that was one reason that motivated me to apply. It would allow me to live and function abroad without having to rely on parents or other sources for financial support. And, let's just say that Dr. (Patricia) Condon is a really persuasive person. She wants to see UofL students excelling nationally and internationally and does as much as possible to make that happen.

The Fulbright will afford me the opportunity to address a major medical problem. Currently in the United States alone, more than 7,000 people die annually while waiting on a transplant list. My work would contribute to the successful engineering of large volumes of tissue into lab-grown organs for transplant, effectively eliminating transplant shortages (as well as other problems) in the future. Though my project will be conducted from a smaller, urologic perspective, it has the capacity to impact all fields of medicine. I'm looking forward to getting started as soon as possible.

The Fulbright will allow me to see if this field of research is what's for me. If my experience is a fruitful one, I would like to continue with this particular line of research throughout my medical career. I'm pretty excited about what the future holds.

Joseph “Lee” Young

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Joseph “Lee” Young

Young, a spring 2010 UofL graduate, will go to Russia to study narcotics addicts undergoing treatment at a state hospital in Kazan.

While at UofL, Young majored in cultural anthropology and minored in Russian studies. In the summers of 2008 and 2009, he studied in Russia through U.S. Department of State critical languages scholarships for intensive summer institutes, and he conducted research in Russia through a UofL Overseers grant. On campus, he was a learning assistant for the Resources for Academic Achievement (REACH) program and a member of the Anthropology Student Association.


 

Teaching Awards

Jamie Giles

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Jamie Giles

Giles, a spring 2010 UofL graduate, will work in schools outside of Bangkok, Thailand, to help students learn English and improve their understanding about the United States.

Giles majored in political science and minored in marketing and communication. She was a McConnell scholar, Harlan scholar and an honors program participant.

In her words:

I believe living in Germany in elementary school sparked my curiosity to continue my travel abroad experience. Studying in China and India developed a deep respect and heightened my interested for Eastern and Asian culture.

Over the course of my four years at UofL I served in many mentorship roles. I was able to spend two amazing summers mentoring incoming freshman as a Student Orientation Staff member, a year as a Resources for Academic Achievement (REACH) ambassador and two years as a mentor to younger members in my sorority. The teaching and interpersonal skills I learned in these roles helped me develop a teacher "tool kit" which I will gladly bring abroad (plus is takes up no room in my suitcase). I also believe being a part of the McConnell Scholars program ingrained fundamentals of critical thinking and pursuing leadership opportunities.

Fulbright offered the best of two worlds: traveling and teaching. Although there are several opportunities for such an experience, I also wanted a program that was notable and well-established. Being a part of the Fulbright community will hopefully enhance my long-term goal and help me attain the best education.

I am extremely excited to spend a year in Thailand. Living in the most homogenous religious culture in the world will allow me to observe many aspects of Buddhism and observe how these philosophies affect students. I also look forward to observing a country at a very critical time in its political process and possible political unrest. Most of all, I want to gain insight and build relationships with my students that will help me in my future endeavors.

I also received Teach for America to teach middle school English (literature and reading) in inner-city Indianapolis, Ind. Teach for America recruits provides the training and ongoing support necessary to ensure recruits' success as teachers in low-income communities. In my case they also provide an Americorp Award that will pay for my master's degree in education. I have deferred this opportunity and will pursue Teach for America following my Fulbright in Thailand.

My interest in education and education policy continues to grow. As of now, I intend to pursue a path in education. My dream job would be to work for the Kentucky Department of Education.

Elizabeth Halet

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Elizabeth Halet

Elizabeth Halet, a 2010 graduate, will teach English to elementary and middle school students in Taiwan.

Halet majored in English and humanities and minored in Spanish and psychology. She was active on the UofL swimming and diving teams and was a student ambassador and an honors program participant.

In her words:

Most of my accomplishments can be attributed to my athlete mentality and my desire to be healthy in both body and mind. My life as an honors Division I student-athlete instilled in me the true value of teamwork, dedication, goal-setting, hard work and time management. Athletics teaches you to turn challenges into opportunities to get better. I can flip a 300-pound tractor tire, swim 20,000 yards and write a 10-page paper in one day without flinching. The attributes I gained through playing sports have prepared me to embrace and appreciate any challenge I may face in the future.

One of the main things that attracted me to the University of Louisville is its commitment to developing all aspects of a person. UofL provided me with a challenging and multi-faceted course load, an eclectic student population, the best athletic department in the nation, a phenomenal support/advising staff and access to a multitude of organizations. There is no doubt that attending UofL is what allowed me to reach my highest potential in both swimming and academics. UofL facilitated my passion for learning and gave me the tools to think critically and welcome the unknown.

I have always had a desire to travel, immerse myself in new cultures and meet people different than myself. I also have a passion for teaching. The Fulbright will enable me to not only experience pedagogy in a different country, but also will give me the opportunity to act as a positive ambassador for international understanding. I am immensely looking forward to the experience of living abroad, learning a new culture.

After completion of this program I intend to enroll in graduate school to pursue a master's degree in either higher education or international policy. No matter what profession I end up doing, in the future I want to interact with people and be a force for positive change on a daily basis.

Ironically, I never passed swimming lessons as a child. An instructor told me that I would never be good at swimming because I couldn't hold my breath long enough to retrieve a brick off the bottom of the pool. I left college as a U.S. Olympic Trial participant and a two-time NCAA All-American swimmer. Lesson: Never let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do!

Felicia Hogan

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Felicia Hogan

Hogan, a spring 2010 UofL graduate, will teach English to secondary students in South Korea.

She majored in biology and music, minored in Spanish and was involved in the Student Government Association, Resources for Academic Achievement (REACH) program, Golden Key International Honor Society, Delta Omicron sorority and the Muhammad Ali Scholars program.

In her words:

My experiences with the Resources for Academic Achievement (REACH) Program at the University of Louisville have greatly prepared me for an English Teaching Assistantship in South Korea. I have had the opportunity to tutor large groups of 20 to 40 college students in biology, chemistry and physics for the past two years. I have also volunteered with various organizations around Louisville and have helped native Spanish speakers practice their English-speaking skills.

At UofL, I had the opportunity to explore many of my interests. While in Korea, I hope to use my background in biology and music to learn more about the health care system, take private music lessons and attend orchestra concerts.

I chose this program because it encompasses my interests in both helping others through teaching and learning more about other cultures. My years of tutoring have developed a true ardor for teach, while my experiences abroad and learning about Spanish-speaking cultures have ignited a constant desire to study other cultures. My training and experience in teaching and my Korean heritage made this program a perfect match for me.

I am most looking forward to the opportunity to explore the Korean culture. I enjoy learning about all other countries and cultures; however, my desire to learn about Korea is much more personal. As a Korean American who was adopted from Seoul, my first trip traveling to Korea and living there for a year will be a life-changing experience. Understanding and learning about my Korean heritage will greatly shape my perspective of the world. I plan to visit the orphanage I lived in for the first months of my life. Although I look forward to my personal excursions, I am very excited about my experiences with the students I will be instructing. I know they will provide a means for me to touch the life of someone else as well as be changed by those I am teaching.

My immediate plans after finishing the Fulbright Program are to accept a position with Teach for America while also applying to medical school. My career goal is to become a physician.

Jonathan Holland

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Jonathan Holland

Holland will help the English department at Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, develop and conduct courses in interpersonal and intercultural communication. He also will work with the university to help organize and lead events that help students planning to travel to the United States learn about American life, language and culture.

Holland earned a master's degree in higher education in 2009 and a master's degree in political science in 2008.

In his words:

I believe the sum of all my experiences, growing up in Bowling Green, Ky., studying history and social studies at Western Kentucky University (WKU), and studying higher education and political science at the University of Louisville, with an opportunity to have a lot of hands-on experience working in a university setting (there), have really prepared me for the year ahead. Also, having studied abroad as undergraduate on three occasions (twice in Eastern Europe) has prepared me for what to expect when entering a new culture.

At UofL, I completed masters' degrees in higher education and political science. I worked as a graduate assistant at Resources for Academic Achievement (REACH) and the College of Education's Department of Education Leadership, Foundations, and Human Resources and interned at UofL's Honors Program and the University of Louisville Transfer Program (Ultra). I have held a professional position as a student development counselor at UofL's Metropolitan College program.

I am really interested in pursuing a career in international student exchange and study abroad programs. This particular ETA was interested in someone who had experience working with college students who had an academic background in American history and politics and who was also interested in international education. It seemed like a good fit.

I really look forward to learning about the system of higher education in the Ukraine as well as the history and current political dynamic of the country. I also look forward to getting to know the students and faculty I will be working with while in the program. I believe through them I can gain a grasp of Ukrainian culture and language. I also look forward to an opportunity to traveling to other parts of Europe as much as possible.

After returning from Ukraine, I plan to search for a professional position at a college or university working in international student exchange and study abroad. I also plan to begin working on a doctorate in higher education.

I want to dedicate my career to higher education, helping students succeed academically at the university level by encouraging and developing opportunities in study abroad and international student exchange.

Carime Lechner

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Carime Lechner

Lechner, a 2009 UofL master's graduate, will work at a university in Mongolia to help students learn English and improve their understanding of the United States.

Lechner graduated from UofL with a master's degree in sociology; she earned her bachelor's degree in sociology and anthropology at the University of Evansville.

At UofL, Lechner received grants for collaborative research on the economic growth of Akureyri, Iceland. She was involved in the Sociology Student Association, Graduate Student Council, Alpha Kappa Delta, Midwest Sociological Society, Butler Sociological Society and National Scholars Honor Society. Lechner organized several community service projects, including a winter clothing drive for Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation in South Dakota.

In her words:

My international experiences in both research and academics along with an unwavering zest to continue gaining cultural knowledge and awareness has aided in preparing for a 10-month stay in Mongolia through Fulbright.

The University of Louisville has provided me with life experiences that have structured the person, student and professional I am today. My academic background set the foundation I needed to pursue international experiences such as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. Dr. (Patricia) Condon, along with other professors, has provided endless support and motivation to reach beyond boundaries.

Fulbright holds great prestige in higher academics as an international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. The program is designed to increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and the people of other countries.

In general, I am looking forward to new experiences in Mongolia. Specifically, I look forward to gaining cultural knowledge and teaching experience through the Fulbright Program as an ambassador from the United States. Along with learning, I hope to spread additional knowledge on Native American cultural and research links between Mongolians and Native Americans.

After completing the Fulbright, I will begin a PhD program in anthropology or sociology (and then) will teach sociology/anthropology courses at a university in the United States. I will continue to research Native American reservation issues. As a professor, integrating Mongolian studies into my academic courses will be an important factor in spreading cultural awareness.

I have dedicated years to studying Native American language revitalization on reservations. I stayed on the Pine Ridge Sioux reservation South Dakota and the Jemez and San Ildefonso pueblo reservations in New Mexico observing native language in the educational system. My master's thesis is a compilation of my research and observations on preserving Native American languages on reservations. I will continue studying indigenous populations in Mongolia.

Lindsay Miller

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Lindsay Miller

Miller, a 2007 UofL graduate, will teach English at a college in Ecuador.

While at UofL, Miller, a Spanish major and Latin American Studies minor, was a resettlement case worker for Kentucky Refugee Ministries. She taught bilingual special education in Phoenix, Ariz., through the Teach for America program in 2007-2009, and earned her master's degree in education at Arizona State University in 2009. She is a teacher at Booker T. Washington Academy in Lexington, Ky.

In her words:

I have had a lifetime of opportunities and support that have brought me to this point. Undoubtedly, studying Spanish, French and Latin American Studies at UofL, as well as studying abroad in Spain and Argentina with support of the Modern Language Fund, instilled in me an enthusiasm for language and Hispanic cultures. Paired with an interest in education, my undergraduate work led me to Teach for America where I became a special education teacher in Phoenix, Ariz., in a predominantly Mexican-American community. I have spent all of my young adult life absorbed in languages and education and the cultures and communities that surround them.

After completing my BA in Spanish and spending two years in the classroom with Teach for America, a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship is the perfect opportunity to merge my interests of Spanish and education.

I can't wait to go to Ecuador, a place I have never been, to become engaged in the community and to learn about Ecuadorian education! I look forward to further connecting my experiences in Spanish and education through graduate work in international comparative education. The ETA will offer a perspective into education in Ecuador that will be invaluable to my future studies in a doctoral program.

Shadea Mitchell

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Shadea Mitchell

Mitchell, a 2009 graduate, will teach English in Jordan.

At UofL, Mitchell was a cultural anthropology major, studied Arabic for three years and minored in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies. She was involved in the Resources for Academic Achievement program, Anthropology Student Association and the World Affairs Council of Kentucky/Southern Indiana. She also spent the 2007-08 academic year in Morocco after receiving a Boren scholarship from the National Security Education Program.

In her words:

In 2008 I received a scholarship to study abroad in Morocco for a year. I feel my time spent there has sufficiently prepared me for living and working in Jordan.

The Department of Anthropology has from the very beginning of my college career been an academic home for me. The professors have been incredibly supportive and have guided me throughout my undergraduate years. They've encouraged me to take internships, become a tutor through the REACH center, as well as write excellent letters of recommendation for me. I am so grateful for everything they have done.

I have studied Arabic for the past three years and have a minor in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and I have also been a tutor for anthropology courses. The English Teaching Assistantship Fulbright to Egypt seemed like an excellent fit - but the Fulbright Committee has placed me in Jordan, and I am more than happy to oblige them!

I am looking forward to absorbing the cultural atmosphere of Amman, honing my Arabic skills and teaching English. After completing my year in Jordan my plan is to secure a job at USAID working in the Middle East division. I hope to either continue my study of anthropology or study international law.

Tejas Shastry

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Tejas Shastry

Shastry, a 2010 graduate, will teach conversational English and composition to middle and early high school students in Sri Lanka.

Shastry was a philosophy and political science major and a McConnell scholar. He also volunteered at the Arcadia Community Center's after-school program for refugee children in Louisville and organized McConnell scholars' service events for three years as the program's philanthropy team leader.

In his words:

After my freshman year, I spent the summer interning with Asha for Education, an NGO whose mission is to develop India by focusing on basic education. While living in a village outside of Pondicherry, I taught children who were victims of child labor or considered dropouts. My experiences that summer, as well as my Indian background, proved to be crucial in the (Fulbright) application process.

I would not have received a Fulbright without the invaluable experience of being part of a community of dedicated scholars who are not only globally recognized within their disciplines, but also passionate about the students they teach. Despite the large size of the university, all of my professors have been extremely helpful resources and close friends. My experience as a McConnell Scholar was especially beneficial in having an amazing college experience.

I was intrigued by the prospect of teaching in a country currently under the process of rebuilding, and uniting a nation torn by a civil war that lasted almost 30 years. Sri Lanka's fascinating history and unique culture also attracted me to apply for a Fulbright.

I most look forward to making a difference in Sri Lankan classrooms and serving as a veritable cultural ambassador for the United States. I intend to apply for graduate school, where I hope to study South Asian history. However, I'm always open to new opportunities that may arise. I would also like to continue my study of Mandarin.

At this moment, a life in academia would be all I could ask for.

Boris Yelin

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Boris Yelin

Yelin, a 2010 graduate, will teach English at a teacher training institute in Argentina.

Yelin majored in political science and Spanish and minored in Latin American Studies. He was a McConnell scholar, a Harlan scholar and a UofL student ambassador. He also participated in the honors program and the UofL Ballroom Dance Club.

In his words:

I think the amalgam of my varied experiences prepared me (for the Fulbright). My many study-abroad trips coupled with my study of languages provided me with comparative cultural knowledge. My time as a McConnell Scholar and a dance instructor inspired my confidence to lead and teach. These combinations and my goal of a diplomatic career fuel my inspiration.

At UofL, I took advantage of all the enriching opportunities that I could find. I have had the opportunity to study abroad six times, and each trip exposed me to new cultures and ideas that broadened my perspective on many issues. As a McConnell Scholar, I met prominent individuals who seek to better the world and educate others about important issues. Also, my fellow scholars inspired me with the various achievements that they accomplished. In general, my involvement on campus compelled me to shoulder responsibility and push myself to excel, which are successful qualities that this university seeks to engender.

I love different languages and cultures, and I think mutual understanding is one of the most effective ways for different cultures to forge positive relationships. The Fulbright program exemplifies this effort, and since the English Teaching Assistantships involved teaching English and American culture, it matched me perfectly. I chose Argentina as the country in which I wanted to work because my knowledge of Spanish would help me thrive in that country and I would be better able to connect to my students. Also, Argentina has a rich culture that I am eager to explore.

I am excited foremost to teach English. Teaching language is fun for me, and I know it will not seem like a job to me. I have also dreamed of exploring Argentina, known for its tango and European flair. I hope to increase my Spanish fluency even more through this experience. The opportunity for bettering my Argentine tango technique also excites me.

I seek to enroll in a dual-degree program in law and diplomacy studies. I hope to become a diplomat/ambassador and work with the State Department or an international organization, such as the United Nations.

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