Monday, April 29, 2024
student smiling

Tess Knickerbocker, who received a BA in political science and journalism & mass communication from the University of Iowa in 2021, is the winner of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award to Spain for 2024-25. 

Hometown: Arlington, Iowa 
Degree: BA in political science and journalism & mass communication 

Could you give us a brief synopsis of what you'll be doing with your Fulbright?   
I will be an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Galicia, Spain, for the 2024-2025 academic year. Depending on my placement, I will assist the teaching staff in English language classes and other subjects at plurilingual (Spanish, Galician, and English) elementary schools, high schools, or vocational training schools. For my supplementary project, I will create a journalism club for students to explore topics of interest to them and topics related to Galician or Spanish culture. Additionally, I hope to join a recreational sports league to engage with the local community.  

How do you envision this will influence your life/future career? 
After the Fulbright program, I hope to work for the U.S. Department of State with the goal of eventually becoming a foreign service officer. My time in Spain will help me become fluent in Spanish, improve my intercultural communication skills, and grow my professional network.  

What advice do you have for future students interested in applying for a Fulbright? 
1. Start early! You will go through many drafts of your essays and applications. Starting as early as possible will give you more time to perfect your application and more time to work with and receive valuable feedback from your advisors, mentors, and the Fulbright committee.  

2. Throughout the application process, you will have to clearly articulate your "why." Why do you want to go to your chosen country? Why do you want to teach English? Why will Fulbright help you with your future career plans? Having clear answers will help you immensely when writing your essays and will increase your chances of receiving the award.  

Were there experiences at Iowa that inspired you to pursue a Fulbright? 
I first learned about Fulbright during my study abroad program in Alicante, Spain. This enriching experience, combined with my Spanish classes and political science classes at Iowa, influenced my desire to participate in a cultural exchange, make international connections, and continue my language learning. Fulbright is the perfect intersection of my previous educational experiences and future goals.   

Are there individuals you'd like to thank for their investment in this process?   
I would like to thank Karen Wachsmuth and Ari Natarina for all their help throughout the application process. I also want to thank Ambassador Ronald McMullen, Lori Skoff, and Shauna Koppenhaver for writing my letters of recommendation; Judith Liskin-Gasparro for my language evaluation; and Melissa Tully and the rest of the Fulbright mentors and committee for all their feedback and advice. 



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.