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Three recent Drake University graduates have been offered Fulbright grants to be used for research and teaching assistantships in other nations during the 2006-2007 academic year.
The graduates' selection marks the first time three Drake alumni received offers for Fulbright grants in a single year. The federal government sponsors the Fulbright grants — the nation's largest international exchange program. Applicants are required to design and propose their own projects for the fellowships.
“Earning three Fulbright grants in one year is a significant accomplishment for Drake as well as for the successful applicants,” said Eleanor Zeff, associate professor of politics and Drake's Fulbright Program Advisor for the application process.
“It shows that Drake students can compete with top applicants around the country,” Zeff said. “It is also an excellent opportunity for these graduates to gain lasting international experience and demonstrate the value of Drake's mission to prepare its students for responsible global citizenship in an increasingly internationalized world.”
Fulbright scholars endure a rigorous selection process coordinated by the Institute of International Education and funded by an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the Department of State and by participating governments and host institutions. The application process includes several stages involving the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board in the United States and bi-national commissions and foundations in the individual countries.
Drake's successful Fulbright applicants are:
- Jessica Ernst of Marshall, Wis., who earned her degree this spring in politics and environmental sciences, will travel to Thailand to teach English as a foreign language, a brand new Fulbright program for 2006. Nationwide, 52 students applied for placement as Teaching Assistants in Thailand, while only three were accepted. Ernst's previous multicultural experience included an internship with the State Department's Embassy in Lusaka, Zambia and study abroad in the Republic of South Africa. She also worked with the Iowa Council for International Understanding in 2005.
- Linda Knoll of Watertown, Minn., a spring 2006 graduate with a degree in international business and Latin American studies, was offered a grant to study multinational business practices in Mexico. Prior to receiving approval from the Mexican government, Knoll was required to interview with several businesses over the phone to test her Spanish fluency and knowledge of business practices. Knoll studied on the Semester At Sea program and also represented the United States as a Rotary International exchange student in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
- Brittany Buchholz of Cedar Falls, Iowa, who earned degrees this spring in international relations and anthropology, was offered an Islamic Studies grant in Jordan. Buchholz will be exploring Islamic principles governing reproductive health and adoption. She attended the School for International Training in Amman, Jordan, in 2004 and developed an interest in family issues while she was there. She has already established contacts with Jordan's Ministry of Health. Buchholz recently received the Elsworth P. Woods Prize, which is given annually to outstanding seniors majoring in international relations.
The Fulbright program awards more than $250 million per year to promote "cross cultural interaction and mutual understanding through engagement in the community and on a person-to-person basis in an atmosphere of openness, academic integrity and intellectual freedom." More information about Fulbright grants and fellowships is available at http://www.iie.org/.