Thursday, May 6, 2010

Whitworth seniors receive Fulbright Scholarships to Argentina, Malaysia

Another Whitworth senior also named first alternate for scholarship to Belgium

Seniors Gillian Goodrich and Blair Daly have been awarded Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship grants to teach English as a foreign language in Argentina and Malaysia, respectively. In addition, senior Claire Swinford was named an alternate for a Fulbright grant to teach English in Belgium.

Goodrich, a resident of Bozeman, Mont., is an international studies and Spanish double-major. She will be in Argentina for eight months, serving as a teaching assistant in an institute of higher education. While she's there, she would also like to work with a women's cooperative, an orphanage or a local church, or to teach outdoor survival skills to youth. After she returns to the U.S., she plans to pursue a master's degree in international affairs, international policy, Latin American studies, public policy, or conflict resolution.

"I'm looking forward to the honor and challenge of being an ambassador for my country while I'm in Argentina," Goodrich says. "I'm excited, and a bit nervous, for the opportunity to immerse myself in Argentine culture. On previous trips, I have always learned a great deal from the people of Latin America, and I look forward to the things they will teach me this coming year."

Daly, a resident of Bellevue, is a political studies major who will graduate from Whitworth in absentia this month. Since March, he has been teaching English at the Ba Kelalan Primary School, in Sarawak, Malaysia. Ba Kelalan is a collection of nine villages situated in the remote interior highlands of Borneo. Daly plans to stay there until the school year ends, in November, to return home in December, and then, next January, to travel back to Malaysia, where he will spend 11 months teaching English and American culture in a secondary school in the Peninsular Malaysian state of Terengganu. He also plans to teach drumming, coach athletic teams, and continue studying the Malay language. In the long term, Daly is considering pursuing graduate studies in economics or international relations, and working as a foreign service officer for the U.S. State Department.

"What I enjoy most about teaching in Ba Kelalan is the children's exuberance, and I look forward to the same in Terengganu and to the friendships I will build with the students and the members of the community in which I'm placed," Daly says. " I studied at a public university for five months in the East Malaysian state of Sarawak last year and lived in Sarawak for another eight months this year, and the Fulbright grant will afford me the opportunity to live in another part of the country and to compare two ethnically, religiously, and culturally very different regions."

Swinford, a resident of Colorado Springs, is double-majoring in journalism and French. As an alternate for the Fulbright grant, she was among the top four to six candidates for two teaching positions allocated to Belgium for the 2010-11 school year. She will receive the award if one of the original recipients declines the grant or if additional funding becomes available to send more Fulbright scholars to Belgium. If she receives the grant, she will be a teaching assistant in the English department of the Université de Bruxelles. Her long-term career goals include writing and becoming a professor, so currently she is looking for ways to get professional journalism experience. She also enjoys studying the French language and plans to travel abroad.

The Fulbright scholarships are part of the English Teaching Assistantships (ETA) Program, an element of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program that places U.S. students as English-teaching assistants in schools or universities overseas, thus improving foreign students' English-language abilities and knowledge of the United States while increasing the Fulbright students' language skills and knowledge of their host countries. ETAs may also pursue individual study and research in addition to their teaching responsibilities.

In October 2009, the Fulbright Program named Whitworth a top producer of students who received Fulbright awards in 2009-10; Whitworth, which was the only private institution in Washington state to be recognized, was ranked in the master's institutions category, along with 28 other institutions including the University of Redlands (Calif.), Drake University (Iowa), and Ithaca College (New York). Whitworth also was named a top Fulbright producer in 2007.

Since 2000, 11 Whitworth students have been selected as Fulbright scholars: Goodrich and Daly, both '10; Kendra Hamilton and Amy Whisenand, both '09; Beth Carlson, '08; Lindsey Kiehn and Leah Silvieus, both '07; Laura Thaut, '05; Carla DePriest, '04; Kelly Siebe, '03; and Alissa Johnson, '01.

Faculty members who have received Fulbright fellowships in recent years include Professor of Economics Richard Schatz, in 2007; Professor of Art Gordon Wilson, in 2003; and Professor of Political Science John Yoder, in 2001.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program, America's flagship international educational exchange program, is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. For more than 60 years, the bureau has funded and supported programs that promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

Since its establishment in 1946, under legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright, of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has provided opportunities for approximately 286,500 people from the United States and from countries around the world to observe each others' political, economic, educational and cultural institutions, to exchange ideas, and to embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world's inhabitants. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.

For more information about the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, please visit the organization's website at http://www.fulbright.state.gov/.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,700 students, offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

John Yoder, professor of political science, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4432 or johnyoder@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.