Recent graduates Paige Miller and Andrea Edmundson received the opportunity to travel abroad as well as teach after receiving scholarships for the prestigious Fulbright Program.
The Fulbright Program gives students, scholars and professionals the opportunity to teach, study or conduct research in one of the more than 155 countries involved in the program. It was established in 1946 by Congress and is funded by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, according to the Fulbright website.
Miller, who graduated in May with a double major in English and Spanish, will be going to Madrid in September. She will be a teaching assistant for English and grammar classes for nine-and-a-half months. Miller said that she wanted to travel some more, that she wasn’t done speaking Spanish, and that it just made sense to do it before starting graduate school.
Miller said that she had heard about the Fulbright Program before starting college; however, it was Dr. David L. Vanderwerken, a professor of English at TCU, who sparked Miller’s interest in Fulbright. Miller said that Vanderwerken had mentioned the program to her class and talked about his own experience with it.
“It gives you the opportunity to travel, study and pursue what you’re interested in,” Miller said.
Vanderwerken said that he was invited to be a guest lecturer in Hungary, teaching three classes in the spring of 2005. He said it was an honor to get invited and recommended the Fulbright Program to motivated students.
“It’s a very good thing to have cultural and intellectual exchange,” Vanderwerken said.
Edmundson, who graduated with an English degree in May, will be leaving in January to spend 10 months in Malaysia, teaching and encouraging students to read and write in English.
She said that she heard about Fulbright from Ronald Pitcock, a J. Vaughn and Evelyne H. Wilson Honors Fellow and Director of Prestigious Scholarships. Edmundson said that she had not seriously considered the program until an employer suggested the program, specifically Malaysia.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to immerse myself in a completely different culture,” Edmundson said.
Edmundson, who is currently living in Houston, does not plan to teach long-term but is interested and looking forward to this short-term opportunity in Malaysia, she said.
Pitcock sent e-mails to students who met the GPA requirements, whether they were in the Honors College or not, but left the decision up to them. There are many students who came to TCU with participating in Fulbright as their goal, he said. He said he hoped it would become a TCU tradition for graduates to receive these scholarships.
“It speaks to our mission statement: if you’re in Fulbright, you’re applying what you have learned at TCU,” said Pitcock.