Dilon Gonçalves, who received a BA in journalism & mass communication from the University of Iowa in 2019, is the winner of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Estonia for 2021-22
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Award: 2021-22 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Estonia
Degree: BA Journalism & Mass Communication, Certificate in Human Rights
Could you give me a brief synopsis of what you'll be doing with your Fulbright?
I will be an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Estonia. I’ll be able to provide the students with support on their English skills while also engaging in cultural exchange by learning about the Estonian culture and offering my perspectives regarding life in the U.S.
What drew you to this field of study?
Attending public schools in Chicago I realized at an early age the stark differences in resources that other schools had in comparison to mine. I later learned that the quality of resources varied based on the demographics and socioeconomic status of the residents. These experiences ignited my interest in education policy, which is very multifaceted.
I am particularly drawn to the lack of equitable education that some Black and brown students receive due to systematic injustices in the United States. Fulbright will offer me the opportunity to go to Estonia and learn how a more equitable education system can impact the quality of education that students receive in the classroom.
"I am particularly drawn to the lack of equitable education that some Black and brown students receive due to systematic injustices in the United States. Fulbright will offer me the opportunity to go to Estonia and learn how a more equitable education system can impact the quality of education that students receive in the classroom."
How do you envision this will influence your life/future career?
The experience that I will have in Estonia will further my professional growth as an educator. I am also excited about the challenges and growth that will come with adjusting to life in a new country. Attending law school will be the next step for me. I hope to use my voice in the legal profession to advocate for educational equity, adequacy, and justice for all.
What advice do you have for future students interested in applying for a Fulbright?
My first advice is to start early, if possible. My second piece of advice is to utilize all resources that the university has to offer. Don’t hesitate to get in contact with a former Fulbright recipient and ask about their experience, even if it may not be the country that you are considering applying to. If you don’t have anyone in your immediate network that received a Fulbright, contacting Dr. Karen Wachsmuth and her assistant Marie Hoppe would be very helpful.
Are there individuals you'd like to thank for their investment in this process?
I would like to thank my family, friends, and mentors who have been supportive every step of the way. In addition, I want to extend my deepest gratitude to Dr. Karen Wachsmuth, Marie Hoppe, my faculty advisor Dr. Bill Reisinger, Dr. Lisa Heineman, Brett Cloyd, Professor Kara Brown, Professor Lia Plakans, and to my recommenders: Roshaun Bowens, Dora Galacatos, and Dr. D’Andre Walker. They not only offered recommendations and draft assistance but also provided support and guidance. They all played a pivotal role in this process and I could not have done this without them.
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).