Seven Ohio University students and alumni — Max Annable, Francesca Cappetta, Chase Goodwin, Tracy Kondrit, Parker Smith, Logan Cull and Emily Trzeciak — have been selected as recipients for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Each will spend 8-12 months working to promote international educational and cultural exchange in host countries across Asia, Europe, and South America. One other student, Jenna Grams, was named an alternate to her program.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is one of the most competitive academic exchange programs globally. The program fully funds U.S. students as they research, develop creative projects, and/or teach English abroad, all while dedicating part of their time to building greater understanding between the United States and host countries.
“Ohio University truly has a global reach, and I’m very proud that we have another six students sharing their experiences on an international level through the Fulbright program,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis said. “This is a great opportunity for our students to learn about other cultures first-hand and to represent Ohio University and America.”
Max Annable, a senior majoring in Spanish, political science, and Latin American studies, will travel to Brazil to teach English and share information about U.S. culture to Brazilian university students. Annable also recently won a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Portuguese in Brazil this summer. His Fulbright grant year will begin February 2020. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to learn more about Brazil, share my American background, and help teach the English language,” he said. “I am excited to explore a new area in the incredibly diverse country of Brazil in addition to continuing my studies of Portuguese. My future goals include working for the Department of State as a public affairs officer, and the opportunity to work as a citizen diplomat through the Fulbright ETA program will allow me to continue developing skills in diplomacy while learning firsthand about one of the programs managed by the Department of State.” Annable added that he is grateful for the many Ohio University mentors who supported his application. “I want to encourage other Ohio University students to take advantage of the resources OHIO provides for students interested in experiences like the Fulbright,” he said.
Francesca Cappetta, a senior majoring in German and linguistics, will travel to Germany in September as a Fulbright English teaching assistant. She will teach English and share understandings of U.S. culture with pre-university students alongside a German teacher. “I am most looking forward to developing my language skills,” Cappetta said. “I’ve studied abroad in Austria for a whole semester, which was a huge boost in my German speaking skills. But I want to reach a new level of proficiency and really geek out over all the new vocabulary and dialects I’ll encounter.” Cappetta added that the support provided to her by Ohio University professors as she composed her application was instrumental to her success. As a result, Cappetta said, “I am considering graduate school as my next step. Although it wasn’t a straight path, I found my way to teaching, and I want to become a better teacher either for adult learners in a community or young learners in schools.”
Chase Goodwin, who graduated from OHIO in 2016 with a degree in French and communication, will conduct independent research at the Université Grenoble Alpes in Grenoble, France on virtual reality technology as a tool for language learning. “This whole experience is a dream come true,” said Goodwin. “I'm very interested in the intersection of language and technology, especially in the domains of artificial intelligence research and virtual reality development. I’m excited to finally be doing my own research, and to have the opportunity to achieve full fluency in the French language.” Goodwin said that the Fulbright application process has helped him to become more resilient. “The first year I applied I was not really aware of what a Fulbright grant was. I knew that I wanted to study abroad and could not afford to.” Upon re-applying, Goodwin found it was imperative to “be a real believer in yourself and in your project.” Goodwin plans to pursue graduate study in linguistics and media after his Fulbright experience.
Tracy Kondrit, a senior majoring in middle childhood social studies and language arts education, will travel to Malaysia to teach English and share lessons on U.S. culture with secondary school students. “I am looking forward to immersing myself in Malaysian culture and continuing to force myself out of my comfort zone,” Kondrit said. “Given the rising numbers of English language learners in the United States, I am looking forward to really honing my abilities to work with those students so that I can be the best teacher possible when I come back to the United States.” Kondrit said that applying for the Fulbright program helped clarify her commitment to a career in education. “Going through it reminded me how dedicated I am to continuous growth both in my teaching career and my understanding of the world,” she said. Kondrit plans to work as a middle school teacher in the United States after her Fulbright year and to eventually pursue graduate study in international education and policy.
Parker Smith, a senior majoring in political science and minoring in history, East Asian studies, and war and peace studies, will teach English and U.S. culture in a secondary or middle school in Taiwan. “I have had a chance to be an English writing tutor this year through Ohio University's ELIP program,” Smith said, “and I am excited to be a teaching assistant in a full classroom setting. Additionally, I am excited to learn more about Taiwanese democracy and spend time taking in the island's beautiful natural scenery.” Smith added that the Fulbright application process helped him reflect critically on his international goals. “Because the [application] essays have to be so concise, it really forced me to distinctly understand why I was interested in teaching English in Taiwan, and how my past experiences relate to my ability to fulfill the position,” he said. “In doing so, the process contributed to helping me think more specifically about my longer-term goals and the other opportunities I could have pursued post-graduation.” Smith said that he is interested in staying in East Asia after his Fulbright year to teach English in mainland China, South Korea, or Japan before returning to the United States for graduate studies in history, political science, or economics.
Emily Trzeciak, a senior majoring in biological sciences, will travel to Mainz, Germany to conduct research on melanoma in a cancer immunology lab at Johannes Gutenberg University. Trzeciak previously interned in this lab through the DAAD RISE program. “I am excited to return to Mainz, immerse myself in another culture for extended periods of time, and continue my studies of the German language,” Trzeciak said. “I am thrilled at the opportunity to conduct my own research project studying novel potential cancer immunotherapy in a field I am very passionate about.” Trzeciak explained that the application process helped her reflect on the value of her earlier international experiences. “I learned how much my previous experiences abroad have been central to my individual growth and understanding of the world. This has made me realize how much I want to continue making working internationally central to my career. I strongly believe that through international collaboration in research we can make the strongest gains in addressing the current global problems we face in human health,” she said. After Fulbright, Trzeciak plans to become a physician investigator, or a physician who conducts her own research in conjunction with treating patients. She is also interested in graduate study in public health. Ohio University undergraduate students, graduate students, and alumni who are interested in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program are encouraged to contact Dr. Chris Lewis (email@example.com), who supports students individually as they compose their applications. Because the Fulbright program’s national deadline is in early Fall 2019, this upcoming summer will be a critical time for interested Bobcats to develop, write, and revise their applications.