When hard-working and ambitious North Parkers Victoria Shi, Macayla Dowling, Sara Luna, and Aidan Nyquist applied for the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program (Fulbright Program) award earlier this Spring, they had to wait until close to the end of the school year to find out the exciting news. The Fulbright Program announced its funding grants for international study/research projects or English teaching assistant abroad programs in early May 2022 along with the Fulbright Finalist, Alternate, and Semi-Finalists–each having to be recommended by the National Screening Committee.
Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected in an open, merit-based competition that considers leadership potential, academic and/or professional achievement, and record of service. Shi, Dowling, Luna, and Nyquist, all have future plans in place to continue to live their lives of significance and service–domestically and abroad.
For Shi, she received the exciting news as the Fulbright Finalist and plans on applying the Fulbright award towards being an English teaching assistant in Taiwan. As a Fulbright Finalist, Shi’s teaching English in Taiwan will go a long way in sharing her educational experience formed at North Park and fostering meaningful connections across communities in the United States and Taiwan. By accepting the grant, Shi is now considered an official Fulbright Student.
“Being a Fulbright Student means becoming a part of the community that I’m placed in and serving the community by teaching English. It’s to be engaged in a continual process of understanding how my own cultural background and identity influences my interactions with the land, culture, and people, and to approach these interactions with openness, curiosity, and sensitivity; it’s to savor new foods and sights and to learn about the history and language of the country; it’s to cultivate meaningful relationships and share experiences and perspectives with those around me and to appreciate living everyday life in the community,” said Shi.
The two Fulbright Alternates – awarded to Dowling and Luna – both have goals to teach English: Dowling in Spain and Luna in Bulgaria.
Fulbright Semi-Finalist, Nyquist, who applied for an open study/research award in Sweden, remains grateful for having come this far. “Despite not being a finalist, I am really glad I went through the Fulbright process. It helped me solidify my decision, so I feel confident going forward with a master’s degree in Theoretical Physics at Uppsala University in Sweden,” said Nyquist.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments, host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide.