Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Sarah Nunez, who will receive a BA in social work from the University of Iowa in May 2022, is the winner of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Mexico for 2022-23.

Sarah Nunez

Hometown: Iowa City, Iowa  
Award: 2022-23 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Mexico
Degree: BA, social work, minor in Spanish

Could you give me a brief synopsis of what you'll be doing with your Fulbright?   
I will teach English in Mexico for the 2022-2023 academic year. Depending on my placement in Mexico, I could be working with students from kindergarten to post-secondary. For my supplementary project, I will establish an after-school recreational program where students will learn activities that can be enjoyed with their families. Additionally, to engage with the community, I hope to volunteer with a local Best Buddies chapter whose mission is to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities.  

What drew you to this field of study? 
Social work thrives on interpersonal relationships, which is a central value of mine. In this field, I can work with any population in any setting. That freedom to advocate for so many individuals and build strong connections with others drew me to this field of study. 

How do you envision this will influence your life/future career? 
This fellowship will strengthen my language and cultural abilities to become a social worker who specializes in Spanish-speaking clients. Additionally, I am interested in international social work, and this experience will prepare me for an international practicum in a Spanish-speaking country for my Master of Social Work degree. 

"Having these incredible, accomplished mentors exemplified how much representation matters. I could see a little of myself in them, and for that, I am beyond grateful."

What advice do you have for future students interested in applying for a Fulbright? 
To all the BIPOC students interested in Fulbright, your concerns and hesitations are valid. While Fulbright is known to be prestigious, it also has a lot of work to do to address the lack of diversity in its program. When first considering applying, I was worried I would be the only person of color who received the award for my country. I still worry I may be the only grantee of color in my region. The Fulbright Latinx organization connected me with other BIPOC Fulbrighters, where I could express my concerns. Representation matters more than I can explain in words. To all the BIPOC students considering Fulbright, please feel free to reach out to me. I am more than happy to help!

Are there individuals you'd like to thank for their investment in this process?
A tremendous thank-you to Dr. Karen Wachsmuth for all her support and for continuously reminding me of how much I have to offer to this program. Thank you, Dr. Karen, for introducing me to a fantastic team of mentors. Muchísimas gracias to Dr. Kathleen Newman, Dr. Mercedes Bern-Klug, and Dr. Bill Reisinger for taking the time to help with my essays. Thank you to J.P. Claussen and Ashlee Donithan for your thoughtful recommendations. Thank you to Professor Alison Oliver for always being one of my biggest supporters. Thank you to Dr. Judith Liskin-Gasparro for helping with my language evaluation. 

An immense thank you and a huge hug to the people of color who helped me with my application. Thank you to Professor Yolanda Spears for her recommendation and kind words. Thank you to Kelly Ramirez for mentoring me throughout the application process. Thank you to UI alumnus and Mexico ETA Victor Diaz Galindo for your enthusiasm and honest advice. Having these incredible, accomplished mentors exemplified how much representation matters. I could see a little of myself in them, and for that, I am beyond grateful. 

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).