Friday, April 8, 2022
student standing near window in Old Cap building

Holly Harris, who received a BA in international studies and Portuguese with a minor in Spanish from the University of Iowa in fall 2021, is the winner of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Brazil for 2022-23.

Holly Harris

Hometown: Waterloo, Iowa
Award: 2022-23 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Brazil
Degree: BA, international studies, Portuguese; nonprofit leadership and philanthropy certificate; Spanish minor 

Could you give us a brief synopsis of what you'll be doing with your Fulbright? 
I will be assigned to a host university in Brazil where I will be an English teaching assistant. I will give presentations and lead activities on different topics related to the United States. Additionally, I will engage in other supplementary projects outside of class by volunteering at nonprofit organizations and starting a U.S. culture/English club. 

What drew you to this field of study? 
I did a Rotary Youth Exchange in Brazil (2017-2018) where I lived with two host families, traveled in Brazil, met other exchange students from around the world, and learned Portuguese. This combination of experiences sparked my passion for international relations and influenced my interest in public diplomacy. I wanted to supplement my experiential learning in Brazil with academic courses in Portuguese and international studies. This led me to apply and be awarded the Critical Language Scholarship for Portuguese (2020).

How do you envision this will influence your life/future career? 
I envision that the Fulbright will help me build a strong and diverse professional network that will hopefully advance my career. I hope to use my Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) hiring status to secure a job at the U.S. Department of State, working in international programs and public diplomacy initiatives. 

"As a first-generation student, I am extremely grateful for the strong support system I found at the University of Iowa."

What advice do you have for future students interested in applying for a Fulbright? or What experiences at the UI inspired you to pursue a Fulbright? 
As a first-generation student, I am extremely grateful for the strong support system I found at the University of Iowa. Therefore, I advise that you make connections with your professors and faculty. For me, they have been incredibly influential in my personal and professional development. They have so much wisdom and insight to offer you if you take the steps to seek it out. These contacts will be vital when deciding what Fulbright award you want to apply for and searching for recommenders. Additionally, I felt discouraged with my application at times when I started to compare myself to others and doubt my own accomplishments. My support system really grounded and encouraged me to recognize my own greatness and not give up. Remember that you are unique, intelligent, and deserving! 

Are there individuals you'd like to thank for their investment in this process?  
Absolutely! Thank you to my recommenders: Professora Cris Lira, you have always empowered me to see my potential. Thank you for pushing me to reach high for new opportunities and for being a strong female role model in my life. Professor Armando Duarte, thank you for showing me the world of Brazilian Samba and Carnival and being a source of such positivity and motivation in my week. I have learned from you immensely! Janice Weiner, your passion for international affairs and human rights inspires me, and one day I hope to have a successful career like yours. Thank you for your leadership and mentorship! 

Thank you to all of my friends who supported me during the ups and downs of my process. I could not have gotten through this without all of you cheering me on along the way! 

Thank you to Karen Wachsmuth for dissecting my applications, asking me the hard questions, and truly believing in me. I appreciate your support so much! 

One final and heartfelt thank you to my parents for your continuous love and support. I know I could not have achieved any of my accomplishments today if it were not for your examples of hard work and perseverance. I love you both so much!

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).