Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Four Whitworth seniors win prestigious Fulbright scholarships

Record number of scholarships awarded to Whitworth students this year

A record number of Whitworth seniors have been awarded Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship grants for the 2011-12 academic year. Corey Dugan will be teaching in Spain, Angie Hartley will teach in Argentina, James Mitsuyasu will teach in Germany and Katie Williams will teach in Colombia.

Dugan, a resident of Ventura, Calif., is a cross-cultural studies and Spanish double major. She will be in Spain teaching English in either elementary or secondary schools. While she's there she also plans to volunteer in hospitals, since she's also interested in medicine. After she returns to the U.S., Dugan wants to pursue a career that will allow her to use her Spanish skills, possibly through interpreting or teaching.

"I think this experience will give me a good foundation in learning how to work with people who are different from me and how to be comfortable and flexible in whatever setting I may find myself in," Dugan says.

Hartley, a resident of Richland, Wash., is an international studies and Spanish double major. She will be teaching English in Argentina as well as working in the community. Hartley says she loves to travel and hopes to instill this same passion in those she teaches. She would like to attend graduate school after she returns from Argentina.

"I was drawn to Argentina because of its unique history of women in power and its strong gender equality laws, such as mandatory quotas for women in government," Hartley says. "While there, I hope to volunteer with organizations working to achieve gender equality in both family and professional settings."

Mitsuyasu, a resident of Enumclaw, Wash., is a music performance major. He will be in Germany assisting in an English class at a German public school, leading lessons and activities. He also hopes to offer a conversational English practice activity as well as to join a community band or choir. After his time in Germany, Mitsuyasu plans on returning to Whitworth to earn his M.A. in teaching.

"I really hope that I can do a good job of being a positive and engaging representative of the United States to the community I work in," Mitsuyasu says. "I'm looking forward to getting to know the students and teachers at the school, and to making new friends. Hopefully I can find ways to make learning English fun and worthwhile."

Williams, a resident of Colorado Springs, Colo., is a peace studies and Spanish double major. She will be teaching English as well as conducting independent research in Colombia. She also plans to get involved with the community in which she's placed. She is still deciding on her plans for after she returns from Colombia, but she says this experience will help her in any career she hopes to pursue.

"I'm excited to travel, to eat tasty Colombian food and to learn how to salsa dance," Williams says. "I'm not sure what to expect, but that's what makes it interesting."

Whitworth Professor of Political Science John Yoder oversees the Fulbright applications and guides students through the application process. Yoder is extremely pleased with the level of success Whitworth students have achieved in the Fulbright Program.

"Their travels, language skills, internship experience, commitment to service and strong academic ability make them among the best students in the country," Yoder says. "The fact that they not only win Fulbrights, but they also excel during their Fulbright year, proves to me that our students are very committed and accomplished."

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. The results for 2011-2012 will be announced later this spring.

Since 2000, 15 Whitworth students have been selected as Fulbright scholars: Dugan, Hartley, Mitsuyasu and Williams, all '11; Gillian Goodrich and Blair 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 U.S. 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.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 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.