Prestigious scholarships aid in achieving educational, career goals

By Dominic Rose, Staff writer

In the 2016-2017 school year, 252 students across the country received The Goldwater Scholarship. The Goldwater Scholarship is a prestigious, nationally competitive scholarship given out to the most promising sophomore and junior researchers.

Dennis Rich, junior in Engineering, was the University’s 2016-2017 recipient of The Goldwater Scholarship.

Rich was one of four people nominated by the University. Students are selected by a national committee after they are nominated.

Rich said he is excited to make a career for himself and to have the freedom to do the research he wants to do. He said the scholarship will help him achieve these goals.

For Rich, it is rewarding to know others think his work is important, recognizing him as a valuable researcher in the community.

While The Goldwater Scholarship is most appropriate for STEM majors, there are many other nationally recognized scholarships across different colleges.

The Critical Language scholarship is awarded by the U.S. Department of State to students who wish to study a language that is considered less-commonly taught at the university level.

Adam LoBue, Ph.D. student in history, received The Critical Language scholarship in 2017.

Focusing on Swahili, his primary research language, LoBue spent the summer in Arusha, Tanzania. He learned the language and immersed himself in the culture as a historian of East Africa.

LoBue said the scholarship requires students to sign a language policy contract, agreeing to speak the language at all times to the best of their ability, barring emergency situations or lack of advanced knowledge of the language itself.

“Critical Language Scholarship recipients also live with families in their host countries, which is a great way to get to know people outside of the classroom environment,” LoBue said.

The scholarship has not only helped LoBue with his career goals, but he’s benefited inside the classroom as well. 

“I was able to skip a full year of coursework and am now in Advanced Swahili,” LoBue said. “Which is great both for my research and just being able to hold conversations in another language is really enjoyable.”

While LoBue traveled to a different country to continue learning a language, there are also scholarships that help students teach a language in various countries.

Additionally, The Fulbright Grant is a prestigious honor that allows American students to teach English in a designated country.

Brittney Nadler, University alumnus, was a 2016-2017 recipient of this grant.

U.S. citizens can apply to be ETAs (English Teaching Assistants) or to do research and citizens of other countries can apply as well to come to the U.S.,” Nadler said.

Nadler is currently an ETA in Thailand, teaching at Mae Moh Wittaya School in Lampang Province. She plans on applying to the Peace Corps to teach English or to work with non-governmental organizations that help children in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region.

Applying to The Peace Corps has always been Nadler’s dream.

Her mother is a librarian and would often show her articles and fictional books discussing human rights abuses. This inspired Nadler to work toward a career focusing on combating international issues, specifically human trafficking, immigrant and refugee rights. Throughout college, she volunteered and traveled to achieve this.

Recipients of the Fulbright Grant receive a monthly stipend, and the grant covers the majority of living expenses, excluding food. Along with 22 other ETAs scattered in different towns, Nadler’s program lasts 12 months, corresponding with Thailand’s school calendar.

“In March we all must find an internship for the month and in April we get to travel,” Nadler said. “Some internships people have done in the past include working at magazines or newspapers, volunteering to teach English at centers, working at elephant sanctuaries, WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) and more.”

Nadler lives in a two-story, two-bedroom house across from the school. Many other teachers live in the houses surrounding her. She interacts with her fellow teachers every day, going to a large market on Mondays and cooking with another teacher on Tuesdays.

Aside from learning about a different culture, Nadler said another rewarding aspect of her journey is that the people of Thailand have been extremely helpful.

On Thanksgiving weekend, all of the ETAs in northern Thailand met to discuss the experiences at the sites. The meeting took place in Lampang City, and Nadler invited everyone to stay at her house.

Nadler told one teacher about this, and eventually, the school found about it. She was pulled into an official meeting, and Nadler thought she was in trouble.

“She (a teacher) continued with, ‘Do you have enough accommodations? Does your air conditioning work? Do you need anything?’” Nadler said. “They are now forcing us to stay in a local hotel rather than have everyone cram in my house. Thai people are amazingly kind and friendly.”

The application process for applying for these scholarships can be overwhelming with asking for recommendation letters, writing personal essays, submitting transcripts and filling out questionnaires.

For students applying for the Fulbright Grant, Nadler said to attend every workshop the University scholarship office has, utilize online forums to connect with other people, ask multiple people to critique the essays and to continue to stay up to date with what is happening in the country. By doing this, she said students can incorporate timely information in their essays.

Despite the intimidating application process, Nadler is humbled to be a recipient.

We were told we were selected based on our community’s needs and our own personalities and experiences,” Nadler said. “Some group somewhere decided I would be the perfect fit, and I try to work hard every day to prove that they were right.”

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