Friday, April 19, 2024
student smiling

Peyton Pangburn, who will receive a BA in international relations from the University of Iowa in May 2024, is the winner of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award to Moldova for 2024-25. 

Hometown: Northwood, Iowa
Degree: BA in international relations 

Could you give us a brief synopsis of what you'll be doing with your Fulbright? 
I will be an English teaching assistant (ETA), placed in an institution in a regional city in Moldova. While in Moldova, I will also be informally researching Moldovan attitudes towards the European Union, Russia, Transnistria, and Gagauzia, as a continuation of my research on de facto states and autonomy arrangements. Additionally, as a community engagement project, I will host country-western dances and teach the locals American line dancing! 

How do you envision this will influence your life/future career? 
As an ETA, I will gain stronger intercultural communication skills vital to my career as a foreign service officer. Furthermore, I hope that concrete experience in Moldovan society–learning the local perspective and forging relationships and trust–will provide a strong foundation for formulating effective policy and cooperating with Eurasia in the future. 

What advice do you have for future students interested in applying for a Fulbright? 
Embrace the challenge! Applying is not a quick, easy, or simple process, but you are in good hands at the University of Iowa, and it will all be worth it in the end. 

Were there experiences at Iowa that inspired you to pursue a Fulbright? 
I didn’t learn exactly what Fulbright was until I was nominated by my professors. After that, the information sessions hosted by International Programs helped set me on the path toward applying. I was also able to study abroad at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, last spring, with the help of a Tyner Scholarship. Though I was already applying for the Fulbright, the experience cemented my confidence in living abroad and resolve to return as soon as possible! 

Are there individuals you'd like to thank for their investment in this process? 
I absolutely must thank my recommenders, Ambassador Ronald McMullen and Professor Irina Kostina, as well as Karen Wachsmuth and Ari Natarina in International Programs, for their feedback and assistance with the process. My biggest thank-you is for Professor William Reisinger, who was my mentor and recommender, and an indispensable resource. Thank you! 




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.