The Fulbright Scholarship program is one of the most competitive postgraduate international exchange programs in the nation. Students who receive a Fulbright Scholarship are federally funded to spend one year of postgraduate study teaching or conducting research in a foreign country. The application process is extensive, and only a select few applicants receive grants.
So far this spring, four Drake University students have earned Fulbright Scholarships for 2013–2014. Kathryn Bell, Amelia Piecuch, Amanda Laurent, and Steven Schaaf will join a list of several Drake graduates who have received Fulbright Scholarships in recent years.
Eleanor Zeff, associate professor of politics and international relations, has been the Fulbright program adviser since 2003, and more than 18 Drake students have received Fulbright awards under her advisement. She says the application process is very competitive, but the Fulbright experience is well worth the time the students spend.
“Fulbright allows students to use their Drake education and apply it in an international situation,” Zeff says. “It helps them be meaningful citizens in the future.”
Anna DeVries, AS’12, and Fulbright recipient for 2012–2013, is currently an English teaching assistant in Pangkalpinang, the largest city and capital of the Bangka island province of Indonesia. DeVries says her Drake education prepared her for the Fulbright experience in more ways than one.
“I often think back to my own Arabic classes at Drake and the experience of my Fulbright foreign language teachers. In spite of the difficulties of learning a language, they were able to share their cultures and countries by opening up their apartments and lives to us,” DeVries says. “I try to emulate their example and can only hope that I will be as welcoming and hospitable to foreigners in America as the residents of Pangkalpinang have been toward me.”
Zeff says navigating a foreign country presents serious challenges, but in the end, it’s a wonderful, invaluable experience. The four Drake students awarded Fulbrights for 2013–2014 will be teaching and conducting research in Columbia, Chile, South Korea, and Jordan.
Kathryn Bell, AS’12, will teach English in Colombia. Kathryn graduated in December 2012, receiving a B.A. with majors in law, politics, and society and in sociology.
Amelia Piecuch, an international relations and environmental policy senior double major, will travel to Chile, where she will conduct a study titled “Chile’s Empty Oceans? Assessing the Efficacy of La Ley De Pesca’s Fishery Management Policy.”
Amanda Laurent, public relations major with a minor in marketing and a concentration in leadership, will teach English in South Korea. And Steven Schaaf, will conduct judicial research in Jordan. Schaaf is a senior majoring in international relations and law, politics, and society.