Caroline Brown, who will receive a BS in biochemistry and a BA in Spanish from the University of Iowa this May, is the winner of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Spain for 2020-21
Hometown: Iowa City, Iowa
Award: 2020-21 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Spain
Degree: BS in biochemistry and BA in Spanish, chemistry minor
Could you give me a brief synopsis of what you'll be doing with your Fulbright?
For my Fulbright year, I will be working as a teaching assistant for students in Galicia, Spain. I will primarily be teaching English, but I am hoping to assist with science education as well. Outside of teaching, I will look for a hospital or clinic to volunteer in. One of the reasons I wanted to do this in Spain was to learn about how their healthcare system handles language barriers with their patients. So many different languages are spoken in Europe. I’m sure I will learn a lot that I can implement in my own future career.
What drew you to this field of study?
My majors are quite different, and there are things I love about each of them. Biochemistry is fun because it allows you to explore so many fields of science at the same time. It’s a challenging degree, but it has prepared me well for a career in medicine, and I love that I’m constantly learning new things. That said, it was actually volunteering as an interpreter for Spanish-speaking patients that made me realize how much I want to be a physician. I started learning Spanish when I was in kindergarten, so it’s difficult to picture my life without it. At this point, it feels less like school and more like something I just do because I love it.
How do you envision this will influence your life/future career?
After the Fulbright Program, I will be attending medical school at the Carver College of Medicine. Throughout my career as a physician, I hope to continue utilizing my second language in order to care for as many people as possible. I anticipate that this year in Spain will further solidify my desire to work with Spanish-speaking populations, either in the Southwestern region of the United States or maybe even in Spain.
What advice do you have for future students interested in applying for a Fulbright?
The first thing I would say is to apply to the place you’d regret not having chosen, no matter how scary the numbers look. Spain’s notoriously competitive application was intimidating, but at the end of the day I knew there was nowhere else I would rather be. The second is to have as many people as you possibly can read your essays. Not just the Fulbright staff at Iowa, but family and friends who know you well and can help you express all the best aspects of yourself.
Are there individuals you'd like to thank for their investment in this process?
There are so many people to thank for helping me achieve this award! The University of Iowa faculty who wrote letters on my behalf (Ana Rodríguez, Steph Preschel, and Holly Blosser Yoder) have all been so supportive. Karen Wachsmuth and Marie Hoppe in the International Programs department put so much time into my application as well. There’s no way I could’ve done this without all of them. I also want to thank my mom, who read and edited countless drafts of my essays. Lastly, I’d like to thank all of my professors who have supported me throughout my undergraduate career.
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).