Wooster Lands a Record Number of Fulbright Scholars
Four high-achieving seniors to teach English abroad in the coming year
WOOSTER, Ohio — For seniors Elisabeth Abell, Alana Deluty, Morgan Hughes, and Annie Partika, next month's commencement ceremony at The College of Wooster will mark the end of one educational adventure and the beginning of another.
These four soon-to-be graduates will spend the next 12-18 months teaching English in a foreign land after being selected Fulbright Scholars — a record number in one year for Wooster.
The Fulbright Program is the premiere international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Government. Established in 1946, it is designed to "increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries." Students are chosen on the basis of academic merit and leadership potential, and given the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, share ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
"We are delighted that four seniors have been selected for these prestigious awards," noted David McConnell, professor of anthropology and Fulbright Program Advisor at Wooster. "This year's award recipients demonstrated excellent academic preparation and personal qualities during the application process. They will be outstanding cultural ambassadors and will represent the College with distinction."
Abell, a double major in history and French and a graduate of Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, has always had an interest in teaching English abroad. In fact, she spent last summer teaching English and French in Morocco through an APEX (Advising, Planning, and Experiential Learning) Fellowship, and is excited to teach in Malaysia this coming year. "I really appreciate the Fulbright Foundation's model of cultural exchange," she said. "It's not just a teaching experience; it's also an opportunity to learn about another culture."
Abell's many honors at Wooster include being selected to Phi Alpha Theta history honor society and Phi Sigma Iota foreign language honor society. She also was named to the Dean's List and received the James R. Turner Prize in History, the Pauline Ihrig Prize in French, and a Copeland Fund Grant to conduct research for her Independent Study project. In addition, she served as co-film editor of Goliard Literary Magazine, and was a member of Model United Nations and "After These Messages," a student-run a cappella group. Abell credits Wooster for pushing her out of her comfort zone, and after her year abroad, she plans to attend graduate school for public history or museum studies.
Deluty, a philosophy major and a graduate of Cranston High School West in Cranston, Rhode Island, visited Malaysia last summer and was excited about the opportunity to return in the coming year. She, too, appreciates the Fulbright focus on cultural exchange. "I am hoping to gain new perspectives from a different culture," she said. "I think this experience will be very valuable when I apply to graduate school."
While at Wooster, Deluty was a member of Model United Nations, Moot Court, the Scot Marching Band, and Let's Dance! Society. She also was a Dean's Scholar, a Copeland Fellow, an APEX Fellow, an Emily Murray Fellow, and an Interfaith Scholar. In addition, she was named to the Dean's List and Phi Sigma Tau philosophy honor society. After her Fulbright experience, Deluty says she may work for a few years and then go to graduate school. As for the value of her Wooster experience, she says it helped her to understand the importance of community. "The environment at Wooster encourages students to think about international affairs," she said. "Wooster has helped me come to better understand the perspectives of others. The sense of community here encouraged me to explore new ideas and engage with people from different backgrounds."
Hughes, a double major in studio art and anthropology and a graduate of Chico High School in Chico, California, researched post-graduate opportunities last summer and decided that the Fulbright program, with its emphasis on cultural immersion, would be her top choice. "I've always been interested in education," she said, "and the opportunity to live and teach abroad for a year was very appealing."
A standout, both academically and athletically, at Wooster, Hughes was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's most prestigious liberal arts honor society, as a junior. She also received the Phi Beta Kappa award and was named to the Dean's List. In addition, she was named to Lambda Alpha anthropology honor society, and was a top performer with the swimming and diving team, serving as team captain and being selected as the most valuable member of the team. Hughes, who plans to pursue a career in the arts and may attend graduate school after her year abroad, credits Wooster with giving her an opportunity to engage in different endeavors during the past four years. "I was able to do things that would not have been possible at most other schools," she said. "Wooster gave me the confidence to pursue these opportunities."
Partika, a psychology major and a graduate of Lowellville High School in Lowellville, Ohio, was intrigued by the opportunity to teach in another country, and like her fellow Fulbright winners, eager to gain a broader cultural perspective. "I've always been interested in education, particularly educational psychology research," said Partika, who will teach in the Slovak Republic. "This experience will give me some perspective about how other educational systems work, and help me decide what I want to do."
During her four years at Wooster, Partika served as the music director of the Wooster Activities Crew, an intern in the Office of Admissions, a coordinator for the Wilderness Center Program House, and a peer mentor. She also was a member of the Orientation Committee, Circle K service organization, and the varsity track-and-field team. In addition, she was a student adviser for ARCH and an assistant for the Education Department and the Center for Diversity & Global Engagement. Academically, she received an APEX Fellowship, and was named to Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society as well as the Dean's List. She also was a College Scholar and participated in an off-campus study experience in Denmark. In reflecting on her Wooster experience, Partika says that it shaped her both academically and personally, and gave her a chance to "explore a lot of options by making opportunities such as off-campus study and internships a realistic possibility."
All four Fulbright Scholars credited McConnell for Wooster's exceptional showing this year. "He reviewed and critiqued our essays," said Hughes, "and helped us prepare the best possible application."