The U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board recently awarded Illinois State University students and staff 2020 Fulbright Scholarships. Students Aaron Gomez, Amina Jinadu, and Michael Spell, and staff member Shanna Carlson have been given Fulbright awards. Gomez’s award was announced in mid-May.
“These are extremely competitive scholarships that carry the highest prestige and expectations,” said Dr. Lea Cline, one of the Fulbright advisors for Illinois State. “We are extraordinarily proud to have so many awardees—the most ever in a single year. I am thrilled that these students, and our campus, are getting the recognition that they deserve.”
Carlson, an instructor in the School of Communication, has been the director of debate since 2014. She received a Fulbright award as a debate coach in Taiwan. This new, 11-month award will allow Carlson to work with university debate programs in Taiwan, build up the debate circuit, and travel with teams to debate tournaments across Asia.
Spell, a senior English education major from Oak Brook, Illinois, will journey to Brazil for an English teaching assistantship. With minors and endorsements in Spanish and teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), Spell hopes to become certified in more languages and start his own language school. “Ever since starting college, I knew I’d be going to Brazil to teach English as soon as I got the chance,” he said.
Jinadu, a senior communication major from Sterling, Illinois, will head to Turkey for an English teaching assistantship. “I started my Fulbright application with guidance from a committee who wanted nothing more than to see me succeed and I can’t thank them enough,” she said.
Gomez is a master’s degree candidate in music composition from San Antonio, Texas. He will take up a research award in Taiwan.
The U.S. Fulbright program has delayed the start of the 2020-2021 program until January 2021. Awardees are anticipated to complete their award periods abroad, even if the start dates are delayed.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered at Illinois State University by Fulbright Program Advisors Lea Cline and Joseph Zompetti and Fulbright Scholar Liaison Erin Mikulec.
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 and 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.