Elmhurst College senior Rebecca Vogt has been chosen to receive a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student award, enabling her to spend a year in Argentina working as an English teaching assistant.
“I was speechless when I found out,” said Vogt, a senior from Racine, Wis., who is majoring in Spanish and special education. “I am beyond honored and excited to have received the Fulbright for Argentina. It feels very surreal.”
Another Elmhurst senior, Monica Mazurek, recently was selected as an alternate in the Fulbright program. She hopes to spend a year in Thailand, where she also would work as an English teaching assistant.
“I am very honored to have gotten this far,” said Mazurek, a senior from Mt. Prospect majoring in intercultural studies and psychology,
The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program places students in classrooms across the world to assist local English-language teachers and to serve as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. The program is highly competitive—to succeed, student candidates need excellent grades, experience studying abroad, community or campus involvement and excellent interpersonal skills, said Mary Kay Mulvaney, an English professor who is director of the Honors Program and the College’s Fulbright Program advisor.
Elmhurst College has had six Fulbright scholars previously, including one who had been named an alternate and was able to participate when another applicant was not able to take part.
Mulvaney said both Vogt and Mazurek are excellent candidates for the program. “They’re outstanding students,” she said. “They really have curiosity about other cultures, they’re sensitive to other cultures and they have respect for other environments.”
The rigorous application process began in the fall. It included two essays, a committee review of the applications, committee interviews and recommendation letters.
Mazurek selected Thailand as the country where she’d like to teach because she had a friend in high school who had immigrated to the U.S. from Thailand and had struggled with school assignments because of his lack of fluency in English.
“If he’d had the opportunity to learn English in his home country, it would have been a lot easier,” she said.
Vogt said her majors, a community service stint in Costa Rica, as well as other volunteer work prepared her for the Fulbright.
“Every little thing kind of added up to make a big impact,” she said.
Vogt is grateful for the support she has received from the College, her family and friends.
“I have countless people to thank for helping, inspiring, motivating and supporting me in reaching this goal,” she said. “To say I am grateful for this opportunity is an understatement.”
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers research, study and teaching opportunities in more than 140 countries to recent college graduates and graduate students.