Four seniors have been awarded Fulbright scholarships. They will travel abroad, conduct research and work as English teaching assistants.
Ronald Pitcock, director of prestigious scholarships, said this is the largest student exchange program. Fulbright offers 1,900 grants in the United States.
“We have students who come to TCU with this as a goal,” Pitcock said. “This is something they want to achieve and pursue.”
Pitcock works closely with the students applying for the program and he helps them determine which country would be their best fit.
“We want to make sure that we submit the best application possible,” Pitcock said. “I provide a lot of support for those students.”
The seniors will spend about a year in their assigned country. They will all depart mid-summer.
Bailey Betik, India
Betik says she became passionate about Indian culture after participating in a skit with her friend, Nikasha Chandok.
“She has really forced herself to engage international students at TCU,” Pitcock said. “And that played a large role into shaping how she will teach English over in India.”
Betik, an English major, will work as a teaching assistant and share her experiences in theatre. She said she hopes the international experience will help her pursue a career in higher education as a professor.
“I’m excited to see how they address education and learn how I can build relationships with a cultural barrier,” Betik said.
In March 2016, Betik will return and attend Trinity College, Dublin to pursue a master’s degree in English in the fall.
Jared Lax, Indonesia
In addition to working as an English teaching assistant, Lax, a marketing major, said he hopes to coach high school basketball.
He said 20 hours of each week will be spent as a teaching assistant and the remainder of his time will be focused on building relationships.
“If basketball doesn’t work out, I hope to spend the remainder of my time getting plugged in some kind of volunteer work,” Lax said. “I really want to make sure I build relationships with the people in my town.”
After researching the program, Lax said he decided it would be the right choice.
“He’s going to make a huge difference not only as an English teacher but as an athletics coach,” Pitcock said. “So it’s a great fit for him.”
Abby TerHaar, India
The political science major will work as an English teaching assistant in Delhi, India.
“I’m looking forward to getting involved instead of studying abroad,” TerHaar said. “When I applied, my professors were very willing to help. I think it makes TCU very special in that regard.”
TerHaar studied Punjabi, a language spoken in India, last summer with the Critical Language Scholarship Program and the U.S. Department of State in Punjab.
“She’s going to be a dynamic teacher in the classroom for students learning English,” Pitcock said. “Not only does she understand the language, but she has a lot of energy and she has a big desire to work in that community and make a difference.”
Allana Wooley, Korea
Wooley graduates this semester with a double degree in writing and anthropology. The Fulbright program is a goal she said she had since her sophomore year of college.
“I knew kind of my whole life that I wanted to travel abroad,” Wooley said. “I went to the informational meeting during my sophomore year and I did research and decided to go.”
Pitcock said he is impressed by Wooley’s skills.
“Allana is an incredible writer and knows the English language quite well,” Pitcock said. “What’s great about her experience is that she had a relative that has served in Korea before. “
Wooley’s brother is a member of the Army and was stationed in Korea for a year.
“I talked to my brother about his experience and he also spent time volunteering there,” Wooley said. “And that was part of the reason why I chose Korea.”