Four ASC Students Selected to Teach Abroad as Fulbright Fellows

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A record-tying four Agnes Scott College students have been selected this year to receive U.S. Fulbright Fellowships, a prestigious scholarship to research or teach abroad. A faculty member was also selected as a Fulbright Research Scholar.

This year’s student Fulbright recipients are Katherine Curtiss ’12, Melissa Griffith ’11, Marian Kaufman ’12 and Susanna Martinez ’12. Li Qi, associate professor of economics, was awarded a Fulbright Research Scholar grant for study in China.

“The Fulbright competition gets more competitive every year, so we are thrilled to have so many of our deserving students be awarded grants this year,” said Christine Cozzens, Fulbright program adviser and Charles A. Dana Professor of English at Agnes Scott. “Once you become a Fulbright scholar, you are a Fulbrighter for life: you will always have lots of international friends, and the significance of this prestigious and truly life-changing program will follow you for life. This year’s recipients have already inspired a large new group of outstanding Agnes Scott students to apply, and I am looking forward to another round of strong applications and possible grant recipients!”

The Fulbright Program is a flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and designed “to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” Since its establishment in 1946 the Fulbright Program has provided almost 300,000 participants—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential—with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Curtiss, an anthropology major, will be an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Taiwan later this year.

Curtiss recently studied abroad in Ghana at the University of Ghana and volunteered with the West African AIDS Foundation, where she worked with orphaned and vulnerable children affected by the disease.

After her time teaching in Taiwan, Curtiss said she’d like to go on to graduate school to become a medical anthropologist.

“I’d like to do more work with HIV and AIDS, focusing on public health,” Curtiss said. “Ultimately, I’d love to combine my love of theater with public health, to use theater as a teaching tool. So instead of just standing up in front of a group of people to talk about abstinence or protection, you could make it theatrical, make sure everyone has a part to play to make sure they truly understand what’s going on.”

Curtiss added that the support she received from Agnes Scott faculty during her time at the college was vital to her acceptance into the Fulbright Program and something she’ll always remember.

“I felt so lucky to be given that sort of attention. They believe in you here—it’s amazing,” Curtiss said. “You don’t get that just anywhere, you don’t have faculty who put all their faith in you, who say, ‘I’ll sit down with you for hours each week until this is done so that you have a chance.’ No matter how the Fulbright turned out, I would have kept that with me forever, their faith was inspiring.””

Griffith, who graduated last year with a degree in international relations, will also be an ETA in Taiwan.

After graduating, she taught English in Shanghai last year and is currently volunteering with Wildlife Rescue Inc. of New Mexico. She’s particularly intrigued by security studies and selected Taiwan because she thought it offered an interesting security situation.

“I’m really interested in how states interact with each other—how they create security architectures and systems to ensure their security and world security in ways that are positive,” Griffith said.

“I come from an active-duty family. It makes you more aware of the human cost of international relations,” she added.

Kaufman, an English literature-creative writing major with a minor in film and media studies, will be an ETA in Indonesia.

While teaching in the country, she said she’ll write about her experiences both as a teacher and as visiting American and absorb as much Indonesian culture as possible. She’s particularly interested in how Indonesia’s recent transition from a dictatorship to democracy has affected the country’s literature and film.

Kaufman said she chose Indonesia in order to challenge herself as a writer and a person.

“As a writer, I’m expecting to get a lot out of it. I have a safe and happy life and wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone. I feel fortunate to do that with a program like Fulbright,” Kaufman said.

Martinez, a psychology major with a minor in education, will be an ETA in Argentina.

Martinez spent 10 months last year studying at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaísoin in Chile. She enjoyed her time in Chile and wanted to experience nearby Argentina as well.

“Once I was in Chile, I loved the South American culture. And I’ve always loved working with children,” Martinez said. “I love teaching for that moment when you realize they’re getting it, watching their curiosity and eagerness to learn.”

After her time teaching in Argentina, Martinez said she’d like to continue working with young people.

“I’d really like to do something with psychology, possibly school counseling,” she said.

The Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships (ETA) Program, an element of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, places U.S. students as English teaching assistants in schools or universities overseas, thus improving foreign students’ English language abilities and knowledge of the United States while enhancing their own language skills and knowledge of the host country. ETAs may also pursue individual study/research plans in addition to their teaching responsibilities.

Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location—offering myriad social, cultural and experiential learning opportunities. This highly selective liberal arts college is known for its diverse and dynamic intellectual community. Through SUMMIT, it provides every student, regardless of major, with an individualized course of study and co-curricular experiences that develop leadership abilities and understanding of complex global dynamics.