Thursday, April 11, 2019

Erik Ovrom, who will receive a BA in interdepartmental studies (health science track) from the University of Iowa this May, is the winner of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Mexico for 2019-20

Erik Ovrom

Hometown: Iowa City, IA
Award: 2019-20 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Mexico
Degree: BA interdepartmental studies (health science track), Spanish minor 

Could you give me a brief synopsis of what you'll be doing with your Fulbright?  

I will serve as an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Mexico for the 2019-2020 academic year, where I plan to use rap music as a way of teaching American popular culture and figurative language. Outside of class, I will volunteer at a primary care clinic and carry out research on the history and practice of traditional medicine, which includes Curanderismo, in Mexico. 

What drew you to this field of study?

While completing a Spanish minor at the University of Iowa, I was inspired by the profound impact that language instruction had on me. I have utilized the skills I developed in the classroom to work as a Spanish medical interpreter at the Iowa City Free Medical Clinic for the past two years. An English Teaching Assistantship presents the opportunity to help other young people develop the necessary skills to engage with individuals from different cultures in their future careers.  

How do you envision this will influence your future career? 

The cultural awareness and the communication skills I establish as an ETA will help me engage with the Mexican and other Latino communities of eastern Iowa in my future career as a physician. Ultimately, I hope to contribute to a model of patient care that accommodates the linguistically and ethnically diverse members of our communities.   

What advice do you have for future students interested in applying for a Fulbright?   

I encourage prospective Fulbrighters to collaborate with the fantastic staff of mentors and advisors at the University of Iowa. Fulbright is a vehicle for cultural exchange, individual growth, and helping others. Students should think about their past experiences and future goals in the context of this mission. 

Are there individuals you'd like to thank for their investment in this process?  

I would like to thank Karen Wachsmuth, Ana Fernández, David Hulm, Michael Zmolek, Bill Reisinger, and Amber Brian for their support throughout the application process. 


Explore the many funding opportunities open to UI students and alumni

Students are encouraged to begin their funding searches and applications at least six months to one year in advance.  Schedule an advising appointment with Karen Wachsmuth to discuss your interest in an international fellowship or begin an application (as a UI undergraduate student, graduate student, or alumna/us).