Thursday, April 30, 2020

Maya Mahajan, who will receive a BA in political science, philosophy, and ethics & public policy 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, IA, and Los Altos, CA
Award: 2020-21 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Spain
Degree: BA in political science, philosophy, and ethics & public policy, minor in Spanish

Could you give us a brief synopsis of what you'll be doing with your Fulbright?  
As a Fulbright recipient, I will be a teaching assistant for young children in the Canary Islands in Spain. In my spare time, I hope to work with legal nonprofits serving the needs of immigrants and refugees in the area. I look forward to exploring the Spanish legal system and seeing how immigration is perceived and dealt with in another country. 

What drew you to this field of study?
I have always loved reading, writing, and history, so my mix of majors was perfect for me. I especially loved taking ethics classes in the philosophy department and immigration classes in the political science department. I chose to minor in Spanish because I hope to work with Spanish-speaking immigrants in California after completing law school. 

How do you envision this will influence your future career?
Living in Spain will help me gain the fluency necessary to work with Spanish-speaking legal clients. Working in another legal system will also help me understand immigration outside of the United States, which I hope will give me ideas on improving the system here. I’ve also always dreamed of teaching English and working with kids so this is the perfect opportunity to do so!

What advice do you have for future students interested in applying for a Fulbright?
Ask everyone you know to help edit your draft! Editing and re-editing my application so many times helped me improve my writing, and I know I’ll take what I learned into writing my law school applications! Studying abroad in Spain made me fall in love with the country and culture. Additionally, my first Spanish class at the University of Iowa with Isaac Fisher gave me the confidence I needed to decide learning Spanish well enough to practice law was an achievable goal!

Are there individuals you'd like to thank for their investment in this process?
I’d like to thank my family for supporting me through this process, Daniel Machlab for giving me my first taste of Spain and pushing me to learn Spanish, Marie Synofzick and Karen Wachsmuth for all their help in editing my application, and my recommenders from the University of Iowa: Professors Evan Fales, Alexander Pines, and Isaac Fisher. Finally, I’d like to thank Valicia Trowbridge, an immigration attorney who wrote one of my recommendations and gave me my first chance to work in immigration law.


explore the many funding opportunities available 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).