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Whitworth University Students Selected as Fulbright Finalists

May 23, 2016
Two Whitworth student applicants were selected as Fulbright Scholarship finalists for 2016-17. The university has a long-standing tradition of producing such finalists, with 33 students chosen since 2000. In 2009 and 2011, Whitworth was named a top producer of Fulbright finalists among master’s-level universities nationwide.

Francesca Bisciglia, ’16, an international studies major with an emphasis in political science and Spanish, and Juliana Zajicek, ’16, a Spanish and communications double-major, were chosen as finalists in Fulbright’s English Teaching Assistant Program, which places highly qualified American students in schools abroad. The participants will live and work in their host-country for nine to 10 months during the 2016-17 academic year.

“The goal of the Fulbright Program is to promote cultural exchange through local-level relationships, and this dovetails well with Whitworth’s mission to train up our students to honor God as they serve humanity,” says Megan Hershey, Whitworth assistant professor of political science and the university’s Fulbright advisor. “The Fulbright ETA award provides students with an incredible opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture of another country while also providing a valuable service as they work with local schools and universities to teach English. Through these highly prestigious, fully funded awards, students gain the opportunity to learn and grow alongside their students while they also share about U.S. culture and bring key lessons from their host culture back to the U.S.”

Bisciglia was selected to teach in Mexico, but instead she will be attending graduate school at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tenn., this fall.

“I was honored to receive a Fulbright Scholarship,” she says, “and deciding between this award and graduate school was a difficult decision; being chosen for the award was exciting because it gave me the potential opportunity to develop into more of a global citizen and to gain more appreciation for other cultures and ideas.” She continues, “This program allows one to deepen his or her understanding of the world, which is vital for an individual's personal and intellectual growth. I believe an education is incomplete without an intercultural exchange, and this program gives individuals the opportunity for that exchange.”

Juliana Zajicek, who was selected to teach in Colombia, sees the Fulbright Scholarship as a culmination of her education at Whitworth.

“During these four years, I look back and see the ways God has prepared me for this experience –through both the Spanish and communication departments, being a resident assistant, studying abroad, and interning at World Relief,”  says Zajicek. “During my time in Colombia, I hope to become a part of the community and to develop meaningful connections with my students. I hope we will challenge each other's perspectives of the world, and I hope that I may understand even a portion of what their country has experienced.  I hope to serve the displaced population in some capacity, and to act as a support for the generation that is taking back its country for peace.”

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program, America's 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.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Megan Hershey, assistant professor of political science, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4951 or

Lauren Clark, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or