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College of Arts and Sciences Newsroom

Five University of Dayton students and alumni awarded Fulbright scholarships

By Dave Larsen

Teaching English in South Korea through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program has special meaning for University of Dayton alumnus Will Landers ’19, who is one of five University students and recent alumni to receive 2020-21 Fulbright awards.

“This is important to me because I was born in Busan, South Korea, and adopted to the U.S. as an infant. I am eager to return to the country in which I was born as an ambassador of the country I call home,” said Landers, a Nashville, Tennessee, resident who holds a bachelor’s degree in English and political science.

Landers received an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) award to teach English and learn the Korean language while immersed in the Korean culture. This year’s Fulbright winners also include four graduating seniors:

  • Rachel Carr, a political science major from Centerville, Ohio, received an ETA to the Netherlands.
  • Sarah Eyer, a history major from Duluth, Minnesota, received an ETA to Serbia.
  • Emily Jones, a biochemistry major from Overland Park, Kansas, received a Fulbright Research award to Sweden, where she will study the genetic profiling of efflux pumps on E. coli bacteria.
  • Michaela Rogan, a foreign language education and Spanish major from St. Louis, received an ETA to Argentina.

Several of these nine-month cultural immersions were scheduled to start in August, but the majority of Fulbright grants have been delayed until January 2021, assuming COVID-19-related travel restrictions have been reduced by that time. Rogan was not scheduled to leave until March 2021 because of Argentina’s school calendar.

The University has now produced 35 Fulbright scholars since 2002. This year, 15 students and young alumni applied, and nine were selected as semi-finalists. Some host countries haven’t completed interviews because of the pandemic, so not all final decisions have been announced. In addition to the five winners, Natalie Blank was selected as an alternate. Blank, an international studies and Spanish major from Batavia, Illinois, will receive an ETA to Colombia if called upon.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers research, study and teaching opportunities in more than 140 countries. During their grants, Fulbright scholars meet, work, live with and learn from the people of their host country, sharing daily experiences. About 20 percent of students who apply receive an award.

“This collaboration allows the students to engage with people in the host country who are different from them,” said Laura Cotten Howell, associate director for fellowships and graduate school advising. “They can build relationships and have a firsthand understanding of what it is like to be from that part of the world. These experiences are both challenging and fun — and students learn a lot about themselves while they are abroad. I think overall, the experience helps them to become better global citizens and look at the world with a new lens.”

The Fulbright experience also prepares students for their professional and post-graduate careers.

Eyer participated in a study abroad trip during summer 2019 to Bosnia-Herzegovina. While teaching English in Serbia, she plans to learn the Serbian language and make connections there for her future career as a historian.

“The language and the culture are essential because I want to become a historian of Balkan history, and as I will be spending a lot of time there in the foreseeable future, I would like to become acquainted with the area, its fascinating history and kind people,” Eyer said.

Rogan will help Argentinian educators learn how to teach English to their students. After returning to the U.S., she plans to teach Spanish or English as a second language at a public high school.

“To best prepare myself as a future language educator, being an ETA in Argentina will help me gain a firsthand perspective on the cultural customs, linguistic components and different regions of the country to provide an authentic understanding to my students I will have in my classes upon return,” Rogan said.

Carr, part of the 2020 cohort of the University’s River Stewards program, hopes to pursue a career in environmental policy. She is interested in seeing how the water management policies of the Netherlands, a global leader in addressing climate change, impact that country’s lifestyle and education.

Jones will be at the Centre for Antibiotic Resistance Research at the University of Gothenburg in Gothenburg, Sweden. Her project involves a genetic analysis of more than 2,000 strains of E. coli. As a member of the University of Dayton women’s soccer team and recipient of the 2020 Presidential Scholar-Athlete award, she also is looking forward to getting involved in Gothenburg’s soccer community.

“The Fulbright Program will allow me to experience what life as a full-time researcher looks like,” Jones said. “I expect to be pushed well outside of my comfort zone because I will be the only lab member with just a bachelor of science degree. After my Fulbright experience, I hope to have a better idea of where I would like to begin my post-graduate career, whether I go to graduate school or continue as a research technician.”

For more information, visit the Honors Program’s fellowship advising website.

Top of page (l to r): Rachel Carr, Sarah Eyer, Emily Jones, Will Landers and Michaela Rogan.

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