Three graduating Hope College seniors or recent graduates have received highly competitive awards through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.
Graduating seniors Susan Haigh of Carmel, Ind., and Steven Skawski of Elmhurst, Ill., have each received awards to teach abroad during the coming year. Gretchen Baldwin, a 2012 graduate originally from Portage, has received an award to conduct research abroad during 2014-15.
Several Hope students or recent graduates have received the awards through the years, including four last year and a total of 22 since 2008. In October of this past year, Hope was recognized by the program as a “U.S. Student Top Producer,” and was first in Michigan among bachelor’s institutions, for the number of students to receive Fulbright awards for 2013-14.
Baldwin will spend October through June in Ngaoundere, Cameroon, researching the role of non-governmental agencies in communities of beekeepers.
She majored in international studies at Hope with minors in French and studio art, and also studied abroad in Cameroon, setting up the base for the research that she will be conducting through her Fulbright award. Since graduating, she spent three months working in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo and a year and a half working at RooseRoast Free Speech Coffee; she is currently traveling abroad, presently in Southeast Asia. Long –term, she hopes to work in the corporate social responsibility field doing human rights advocacy.
Haigh will be teaching English at a high school in Perpignan, France. She will participate in civic-engagement activities to help increase greater mutual understanding between France and the United States.
She is completing majors in French and international studies. Her studies at Hope included spending the fall 2012 semester in Rennes, France. Her long-term professional interests include teaching French at a U.S. immersion school and a career in international affairs.
Skawski will be serving in Colombia as an assistant to a professor of English at the University of Cundinamarca in Girardot, which is located between Cali and Bogota. He also intends to immerse himself in the community with an additional volunteer opportunity and intends to enroll in coursework himself.
He is a Spanish major who has also been in the education program pursuing Spanish Education K-12 and General Education K-8 certification. His studies at Hope included spending the fall 2012 semester in Seville, Spain. He intends to purse a teaching career after his Fulbright, serving either in the U.S. or abroad.
Fulbright grants are made to U.S. citizens and nationals of other countries for a variety of activities, primarily international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools. Grant recipients include recent college graduates and graduate students, college and university instructors, and professionals in other fields.
The U.S. Student Program is designed for recent college graduates, master’s and doctoral candidates, young professionals and artists, with awards supporting an academic year of study, research or teaching assistantship experience. The program operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.
Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 325,000 participants—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. In the past 67 years, more than 44,000 students from the United States have benefited from the Fulbright experience.