Nicole Hehr, who received a BA in ancient civilization from the University of Iowa in May 2019, is the winner of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Italy for 2019-20
Hometown: Mason City, Iowa
Award: 2019-20 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Italy
Degree: BA in ancient civilization
Could you give a brief synopsis of what you’ll be doing with your Fulbright?
For my Fulbright grant, I will be working as an English teaching assistant in high schools in Italy. I also plan to get involved in my community by volunteering with a local health organization and starting a science book club.
What drew you to your field of study?
While studying ancient civilizations in college, I participated in an archaeological dig in Sicily, Italy, which really sparked my interest in Italian language and culture. Struggling to learn Italian myself inspired me to teach English in the Iowa City community. The Fulbright ETA was the perfect opportunity for me to learn more about a culture and language I’ve fallen in love with while also helping others learn English, which I truly enjoyed doing while in Iowa City.
How do you envision this will influence your life/future career?
After Fulbright, I plan to attend medical school to become a doctor. I believe Fulbright will be a huge asset to my career, and life in general, by providing me with communication, teaching, and cultural skills that will allow me to provide better care to my patients. I also believe Fulbright will help me facilitate global communication about medical research and treatments in addition to being a global citizen.
What advice do you have for future students interested in applying for a Fulbright?
My advice to future students interested in Fulbright is to really dig deep into why you want to do a Fulbright. It really helps to understand your motivations for Fulbright when it comes time to write your application statements. I would also add that while it is a long and sometimes difficult process, I believe it’s worth it, regardless of if you receive a grant, because you learn so much about yourself and your future goals throughout the process. Finally, I would highly recommend seeking out all of the support that the Fulbright team at Iowa offers; they were incredibly helpful and I wouldn’t be here without them.
Are there individuals (professors, mentors, etc.) you’d like to thank for their investment in this process?
First, I’d like to thank the entire Fulbright team at Iowa, especially Dr. Karen Wachsmuth of International Programs as well as Professor Kathleen Newman for supporting me through this process and for their dedication to all of us applicants. I’d also like to thank all of my recommenders: Glenn Storey, professor in classics and anthropology; Heidi Galer, English teacher at Friendship Community Project of Iowa City (and director Susan Prepejchal, without whom I never would have found such great English teaching experiences); and Rosemary Moore, professor in classics. Finally, I’d like to thank my family and friends (particularly One Parker for reading over countless drafts for me), who supported and encouraged me throughout this process.
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).