Wednesday, April 5, 2023
student in beige jacket smiling

Charlotte Hilker, who will receive an MA in speech-language pathology from the University of Iowa in May 2023, is the winner of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Kosovo for 2023-24.   

Hometown: Maplewood, New Jersey, and Des Moines, Iowa 
Degree: MA, speech-language pathology 

Could you give us a brief synopsis of what you'll be doing with your Fulbright?   
I'll be a teaching assistant for English language courses at a university or another educational institution in Kosovo. I'm still awaiting details of where exactly I will be for the grant. I will be planning and conducting conversational classroom activities, giving presentations on different topics related to the United States (culture, society, and history), leading language labs and language table discussions, acting as a resource person both at the host institution and in the community, coordinating extra-curricular activities, and conducting English conversation clubs. I'm excited to engage in cultural exchange and form connections in Kosovo! 

How do you envision this will influence your life/future career? 
I plan to get a PhD in speech-language pathology. In Kosovo, I will volunteer at the Kosovo Institute of Logopedics to improve my understanding of speech-language pathology from an international perspective. My Fulbright experience will also enhance my teaching skills so I can be a thoughtful educator who serves students' needs. 

What advice do you have for future students interested in applying for a Fulbright? 
Listen to the Fulbright mentor team at Iowa and be patient. I wrote and edited about 13 rough drafts before I submitted my final one. It takes a lot of persistence, but you can do it! The Fulbright mentors are so helpful in guiding you through the process, so just keep going! 

Were there experiences at the UI that inspired you to pursue a Fulbright? 
I was very involved in the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts for UI’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) in graduate school. I served as the DEI liaison for a year and worked on the student anti-racism in CSD team. That experience inspired me to pursue opportunities to learn about other people and cultures more deeply and improve my cultural competence. The Fulbright is an incredible opportunity to share my nation’s unique culture and build understanding with the people of Kosovo. 

Are there individuals you'd like to thank for their investment in this process? 
I want to thank Karen Wachsmuth and the rest of the Fulbright mentors at Iowa who helped me prepare my application. I want to thank my recommenders: Anu Subramanian, Doug Blake, and Tonya Bergeson. I could not have gotten this award without their kind words! I also want to thank my mentors Jean K. Gordon and Kristi Hendrickson for helping me decide if I'd like to pursue this opportunity in the first place. 




International Programs (IP) at the University of Iowa (UI) is committed to enriching the global experience of UI students, faculty, staff, and the general public by leading efforts to promote internationally oriented teaching, research, creative work, and community engagement.  IP provides support for international students and scholars, administers scholarships and assistance for students who study, intern, or do research abroad, and provides funding opportunities and grant-writing assistance for faculty engaged in international research. IP shares their stories through various media, and by hosting multiple public engagement activities each year.