Lizzie Shockley, who will receive a BA in anthropology and Spanish from the University of Iowa in 2023, is the winner of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Mexico for 2023-24.
Hometown: Cedar Falls, IA
Degrees: BA, anthropology, Spanish; translation for global literacy minor
Could you give us a brief synopsis of what you'll be doing with your Fulbright?
I will be serving as an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in a public school. This means I will be there to help teach English as a second language (ESL) in a city in Mexico. I will also be doing a supplementary project as part of the Fulbright-García Robles grant requirement. My plan is to lead an English conversation group for women where we can discuss popular U.S. culture and do other fun activities to practice English skills. I am also expected to participate in a community engagement project, and I chose to serve at a food bank, in addition to joining an exercise class and a parish.
How do you envision this will influence your life/future career?
As a Fulbrighter in Mexico, I will gain valuable cultural competency needed as an anthropologist. I hope to attend graduate school to obtain a master's degree in cultural anthropology, and in the future, I would like to work with migrants in the U.S. This experience will allow me to understand Mexican culture firsthand, which I have learned about and come into brief contact with but never been really immersed into. I desire to explore all of the Spanish-speaking countries I can, learn the different dialects and customs, and get to know the local people. Being an ETA offers the special opportunity to teach my native language to Spanish speakers—something I value greatly as a second language learner of Spanish—and I hope to continue participating in cultural exchange throughout my life. I would love to translate Mexican authors to English as well.
What advice do you have for future students interested in applying for a Fulbright?
Know your "why." During the Fulbright application process, you will repeatedly be asked two things: why do you want to teach English (or do research), and why do you want to go to the country you have chosen? Have a clear idea of what your reasoning is for deciding to pursue a Fulbright scholarship. If you can articulate that well, you will have a much better chance of receiving the award and the whole process will be much more enjoyable and exciting.
Listen to the UI Fulbright committee and mentors and take their advice. Don't be discouraged if their suggestions feel overwhelming or harsh—they are there to help you! They push you because they know what the Fulbright board is looking for, and they are the best equipped to help you build a strong application.
Use your resources. Reach out to someone who has gotten a Fulbright in your country. They will be one of the best people to help you and they can give you specific advice. Also, research a few big topics about your country that interest you. This will help you be well informed and understand what you're getting yourself into.
Were there experiences at the UI that inspired you to pursue a Fulbright?
I was nominated for a Fulbright scholarship by one of my professors, Christine Shea, and this was totally unexpected. I would never have thought to apply for a Fulbright if she hadn't nominated me, and after attending some of the seminars during Fulbright Week, I decided I didn't want to pass up this unique and amazing opportunity. In the fall 2022 semester, I studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and I absolutely loved it. I knew then that I wanted the Fulbright in Mexico more than anything, because I wanted to go abroad in a Spanish-speaking country again, this time somewhere closer to home.
Are there individuals you'd like to thank for their investment in this process?
I would like to thank Karen Wachsmuth, Ari Natarina, Kathleen Newman, Christine Shea, Cynthia Chou, Pilar Marce, Eric Bodin, Judith Liskin-Gasparro, Sarah Nuñez, Victor Díaz Galindo, Julia Conrad, Ted Powers, and the rest of the UI Fulbright committee, as well as all of the peers and organizations that they connected me with along the way. Without their help and contributions, I do not think I would have been able to receive this grant. I cannot thank them enough for their hard work and dedication to my success.
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