Five Carthage students awarded Fulbright Fellowships
Five Carthage students were selected as Fulbright Fellows to teach English and share U.S. culture next year in their host countries of South Korea, Taiwan, and the Czech Republic.
The Fulbright Fellowship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is the premier program of cultural ambassadorship for American students and young scholars. The Fulbright supports research projects, creative endeavors, and English language teaching in more than 100 countries around the world.
Alex Ash ’16, Jess Livingston ’17, Jamie Tyrrell ’17, Lexi Wesselhoff ’16 and Paige Whitney ’17 won prestigious English Teaching Assistantships after their applications were recommended by the Carthage Fulbright committee and passed through two rounds of competition at the national level.
Czech Republic: Jessica Livingston ’17
For Jess Livingston, a Graphic Design and Public Relations major from Wheeling, Illinois, the Fulbright is an opportunity to apply the skills and tools she developed as a fellow in the Brainard Writing Center. There, and as tutor for English language learners on campus, she created visual learning techniques to make difficult concepts more accessible, culminating in the design of a research-based “Visual Learners Kit” for tutors working with international students.
“This upcoming academic year is going to be a challenge, but one I am ready to grow from,” Jess said. “I’m eager to connect with my students and coworkers, and I’m excited to bond with them over shared interests and embraced differences. I’m looking forward to Post-it note-filled pockets holding my jotted down Czech words and phrases, and I’m even more excited to befriend the local coffee shop baristas.”
After completing her Fulbright year, Jess plans to undertake graduate studies with the intent to one day become a professor.
South Korea: Jamie Tyrrell ’17 and Paige Whitney ’17
For Jamie, this marks a return to the country where she spent her spring and summer terms last year, while a student at Seoul’s Yonsei University. As a minor in Educational Studies, tutor for international students at Carthage, and a language learner herself, Jamie is ready to take on the challenges of the South Korean classroom.
“When I found out I received the Fulbright, the rush of emotions that I felt are hard to describe,” Jamie said. “I had made Fulbright my ultimate goal as an undergraduate student, so receiving this honor has proven to me that my passion and hard work actually do pay off. Most of all, however, I want to thank the people who helped and guided me along the way: Prof. John Isham, for introducing me to Fulbright and setting me on the right course; Prof. Dan Choffnes, for helping me find the right words; Prof. Lara Christoun, for helping me cultivate my skills as an ESL educator; and Prof. Steve Udry, for truly being the best advisor a student could ask for.”
Following her Fulbright year, Jamie hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in linguistic anthropology with a geographic concentration on South Korea, ultimately becoming a professor of Korean studies.
For Paige, the Fulbright award offers a chance to return to East Asia, where she has already spent time on two J-term tours in China and Japan. As a member of the improvisational performance groups the Merely Players and the Neil-Futurists, she brings with her an adaptability and sense of humor that she believes will bring a positive attitude to her classroom.
“As a lover of languages, I readily accept the challenge of cultural exchange, as I teach English and learn Korean,” Paige said. “I cannot wait to experience everything I have only seen in pictures and videos for many years, and to explore the part of East Asia that I have most wanted to visit. Words don’t describe how thankful and ecstatic I am. Sometimes, I just begin to tear up thinking about it or talking about it, and that speaks volumes in itself.”
Taiwan: Alexa Wesselhoff ’16
Lexi Wesselhoff, of Belvedere, Illinois, graduated with a degree in psychology and is looking forward to spending time with young Taiwanese language learners. Having served as a tutor, teacher, therapist, and camp counselor, including with children of different cultures and level of physical and intellectual ability, she plans to adapt her English lessons to the needs and abilities of her students. In addition to traditional classroom activities, Ms. Wesselhoff hopes to establish a video pen-pal program between her classroom in Taiwan and a partner classroom in an Illinois school where her parents are teachers, creating an opportunity for direct cultural exchange.
“I am still in shock and overwhelmed by this wonderful opportunity Fulbright has offered me,” she said. “I am so excited to be immersed in an entirely new culture, to connect with my students and people of the community, and explore the incredibly beautiful island of Taiwan. I plan on taking part in everything Taiwan has to offer: studying a new language, exploring new cities, experiencing religious life, taking part in their active lifestyle, and of course, enjoying the food! Pictures and videos have not been enough and soon I will see the country’s beauty firsthand while I get to share what I love about my own home with my students. August can’t come soon enough!”
On returning from her Fulbright year, she will go to graduate school in occupational therapy and eventually treat children in an outpatient clinic or hospital setting.
Thailand: Alex Ash ’16
Alex Ash ’16, who graduated with a major in communication, served as a fellow at the Brainard Writing Center on campus, and since leaving Carthage has been a third-grade teaching assistant. The native of Reading, Pennsylvania, is looking forward to creating an enjoyable classroom environment in Thailand to keep her students’ attention on the learning goals, and plans to facilitate language learning through interactive lessons that take English out of the textbook and put it in a real-world context.
“I’m so excited for the upcoming year, especially because it was my second time applying, Alex said. “Being selected to teach English in Thailand is well worth the wait!”
After returning to the United States, she plans to pursue a graduate degree in feminist theory while in her spare time creating visual projects that explore the lives and stories of populations traditionally underrepresented in the media.
Current juniors, seniors, and alumni of all majors are eligible to apply to the Fulbright Fellowship. Fulbright programs provide funding for a range of teaching, study, research, and advanced projects abroad. In 2016 and 2017, Carthage was named a “Top Producer” of U.S. Student Fulbright awards by the Institute of International Education. The Fulbright award, a program of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, was established in 1946 for the “promotion of international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture, and science.”
“Our students really care about what’s happening in other countries, and want to help make the world a more peaceful place,” said Dan Choffnes, Director of Student Fellowships and the campus Fulbright program advisor. “The Fulbright mission of mutual understanding through educational exchange is a good fit with our type of global-minded, interdisciplinary-thinking graduate.”
Congratulations to our 2017-2018 Fulbright Fellowship recipients!