This year, a handful of students and alumni, through their hard work and dedication, have received the Fulbright Scholarship which will allow them to do work in the international community.
The Fulbright scholarship program is a U.S. foreign exchange program that aims to help fund international research as well as foster further cooperation in higher education around the world. The program helps to fund not only research opportunities, but has programs for students to go overseas and teach English.
Seattle University has a long and proud history of producing Fulbright scholars at the school. Seattle U produced the most grant recipients in the 2014-2015 year. This year has been no different with 14 students and alumni reaching the semifinals of the application process, and eight students receiving grants.
The process for obtaining the grants is rigorous. Applicants must explain why they are qualified candidates to do the work. The students and graduates that get these scholarships spend months writing and revising their personal statements and the statements of grant purposes. During the process they contact faculty, some around the world, to give them recommendations and help them with their research.
Shayan Chishti, a senior international studies and spanish double major who received the grant, will be teaching English to students in Mexico, and she explained the application process.
“In my application I talked about how I had taught English in the past to Latino immigrants here in Seattle, I’ve taught Spanish to first and second year students here at Seattle U, so just pinpointing specific examples of how I’ve prepared myself for teaching in Mexico,” Chishti said.
Other applicants also had personal reasons for choosing the research topics. Nizama Djuderija, a criminal justice major with a specialization in the administration of justice, graduated in 2018, and will be studying in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She talked about how her interest in looking at how political position affects crimes in the Bosnian genocide fueled her inspiration to do research there.
“I am from Bosnia, I immigrated to the U.S. as a toddler, and throughout my childhood the war interested me because it was why I came here… so understanding it always drew my attention, and I was always very interested in how crimes such as war and mass murder are disputed in a formal fashion, when it comes to prosecuting these crimes,” Djuderija said.
Each student had a different reason for going abroad in their research and each of the recipients look forward to how being a Fulbright scholar really opens up their careers and gives them new opportunities.
“I’m thinking about law school. Atmyjobnow,atalawfirm,Iwork with Latino immigrants who can’t be successful in their fields because they don’t speak English,” Chishti said “For me I wanted to go to Mexico because I want this experience to help me navigate language barriers immigrants face.”
Through her research, Djuderija hopes to look at how political alignment affected the way that criminals were prosecuted after the Bosnian genocide. To do this, she will be looking at records from the International Criminal Court as well as working in the field to talk to people about their experiences.
“How was someone able to get away with some of the worst crimes of humanity because they were politically affiliated. So within all of the sociological aspects of this, how did these crimes affect the values of the Bosnian people. The lack of trust, the crime, they all affect the day-to- day lives of the people,” Djuderija said.
Julia Cordero, a humanities for teaching and Spanish double major, who graduated in 2018, also received funding to go to Mexico to teach English. She explained why it was so important for these types of programs to exist.
“It’s an important program for me personally because it’s a context where I get to apply the learning that I did here at Seattle U. This program is really important for creating communities across borders, as cheesy as that sounds, especially in our political climate there are stereotypes of other people but also America,” Cordero said. “By participating, we create a whole new understanding of the world and ourselves.”
These students and alumni will be receiving the grant money that they earned in October where they will start on their various research projects and start their jobs as education assistants.
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