Three members of the West Virginia University class of 2017 will take on teaching and research opportunities starting this fall as recipients of the 2017 Fulbright Scholarship. The students will study abroad, serving as representatives of the University while supporting the Fulbright Scholars’ mission of promoting international good will.
This year’s Fulbright Scholars—all from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences—are:
Forty-nine WVU students have received Fulbright Scholarships, and 2017 marks the sixth year in which the University has had at least three Fulbright Scholars.
“The broad education of our three awardees this year speaks both to the role of rich liberal arts learning and to the importance of global scope in our graduates’ educations and aspirations,” said Ryan Claycomb, associate dean in the Honors College and Fulbright Program advisor at WVU. “These students have made the most of their WVU education on the way to enacting a meaningful exchange with the wider world they are about to encounter.”
Recipients of the Fulbright Scholarships have the opportunity to teach English or conduct research abroad. Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program encourages cultural exchange and community engagement between the United States and more than 140 countries.
“Chris, Colin and Jared are excellent examples of why WVU students are so competitive for the Fulbright: they are smart, curious and committed to improving our world,” said Amy Cyphert, director of the ASPIRE office.
“Whether they are conducting research in Jordan or teaching English in Malaysia and Taiwan, they will be excellent ambassadors for WVU and for our state and nation.”
Each student will spend approximately nine months in another country beginning this fall.
Colin Lopez plans to conduct research on access to healthcare in Amman, Jordan. Last year, he spent nine months learning Arabic in Amman, where he worked as an intern for the United Nations Refugee Agency and shadowed physicians at the Jordan Health Aid Society.
There, Lopez became concerned about the distribution and availability of healthcare. He applied for the Fulbright in hopes of returning to address the issue.
“I proposed to collect information on every healthcare service provider in Jordan and map them using geographic information systems [GIS],” Lopez said.
He plans to assess the data he collects on healthcare access and make the information widely available in Jordan.
“This project will lend me further insight into conducting GIS and population-based research to address issues in public health, allowing me to continue this type of research in my own career,” he said. “I aim to increase access to healthcare services both in Jordan and around the world through quality research.”
Jared Peterson, who also studies ceramics in the College of Creative Arts, chose to teach English in Malaysia because of the country’s immense cultural and geographic diversity. He hopes visiting a place drastically different from his West Virginia hometown will help him expand his understanding of language.
“I realized that the expression of any belief—through art, music, literature, or any other manifestation of culture—is language,” Peterson said.
Peterson plans to combine his passion for ceramics and language to teach English.
“I will build a kiln with my students and run community classes during my time there,” he said. “Ceramics, a visual art and tactile craft, can transcend verbal language. My hope is to use ceramics as a community builder and language tool.”
As an English as a second language tutor for the Literacy Volunteers of Monongalia and Preston Counties, applying to teach English abroad as a Fulbright Scholar was a natural progression for Christopher Radcliffe.
He began tutoring after a summer in China, and now plans to travel to Taiwan, where he will indulge his interests in East Asia while teaching English, performing community service and expanding his understanding of Mandarin Chinese.
Radcliffe also seeks a deeper understanding of humanity.
“Humans are humans. All lives involve laughing, loving, doing and learning. I hope to reaffirm this claim when I travel to Taiwan and come to better appreciate what it means to be human,” he said.
Students interested in applying for a Fulbright Scholarship or other nationally competitive awards can contact the ASPIRE Office at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment.