Four Linfield students received teaching assistantship and research grants for the prestigious Fulbright program this year, a record high for Linfield.
Previously, the record was three recipients in one year, Scholarship Adviser and Instructor of History Deborah Olsen said.
Seniors Ashley Bennett and Brett Tolman will teach in Mainz, Germany, and Sri Lanka, respectively; seniors Krista Foltz and Lily Niland will conduct original research in Chile and Peru, respectively.
As part of their teaching assistantship, both Bennett and Tolman will use their foreign language skills to teach the English language at a school in their host country.
Bennett, an economics and German double major, said she originally
intended to apply for the research grant to investigate water economics in Germany.
But with aspirations to become an economics professor, she said teaching sounded more appealing.
“I thought it would be fun to try teaching,” Bennett said. “I’m looking forward to spending a longer amount of time in a German-speaking country and getting the chance to positively impact a child’s
For political science major Tolman, applying for Sri Lanka was a natural choice.
During his sophomore year, he conducted a case study about the country’s democratic, environmental and societal facets.
Although Tolman said he is unsure what career path he will choose when he returns, he said he believes the program will help guide his choice.
“It seemed like a good segue into any sort of future I want to have,” he said. “I think it’s important to take advantage of all the things around you.”
Niland, an intercultural communication major and double Spanish and Japanese minor, said she
wanted to blend her passion for both languages in the program.
Peru was an ideal choice, because of the late 19th century influx of Japanese immigrants, which resulted from land scarcity, she said.
“My main focus in applying was finding a place that used both Spanish and Japanese,” she said. “I want to see how [Japanese residents] use Spanish now.”
She will examine attitudes toward Japanese language use as well as adopted and rejected language practices.
Foltz, a math and education major, will combine her passion for math and teaching in her research by examining gender stereotypes of females learning math in the classroom.
She said she wants to examine the phenomenon of “stereotype threat,” which states that females perform equally to males in math when the teacher treats them equally. Otherwise, they begin to feel nervous and panicked, which impedes their willingness and ability to learn.
“I’ll be learning what I should be looking for when teaching in the classroom,” Foltz said. “I expect to come back and be a better educator.”
After an intensive application process, the four recipients said they are eager to embark on their cultural journey.
“It’s a time for me to decide what I want,” Bennett said.
Tolman said he is going in with an open mind and few expectations.
“Whenever I go anywhere, I try to not have any expectations and take advantage of all of the things around me,” he said. “This will be a good, real-life case study.”
The awards bring the number of Linfield recipients to 20 since 1999, representing a 25 percent increase.
“We get a large number of students applying who have been abroad,” Olsen said.
The four Linfield students competed among roughly 5,000 applicants who submitted applications during between the 2009-10 school year, according to the Fulbright website.
“Linfield gives an amazing amount of support,” Niland said.
The Fulbright program is designed to forge stronger ties between the United States and developing countries. Its patron is the U.S. State Department, and Fulbright sponsors American and foreign students in cultural exchanges.
Created in 1946, the organization seeks to foster peace through the understanding of other cultures.
Through the Fulbright teaching and research programs, students explore cultural diversity and contribute to the host nation’s educational development.
Senior reporter Chelsea Langevin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Institute of International Education, which administers the Fulbright Student Program on the State Department’s behalf, was founded in 1919. The Fulbright Program was established in 1946. The Review apologizes for the mistake. (5/10/10)