Five West Virginia University graduates join the ranks of more than 80 other WVU students who have been named Fulbright Scholars, opening opportunities to teach English or do research abroad.
Five West Virginia University graduates receive prestigious Fulbright scholarships to spend the next year teaching English or doing research abroad while building cross-cultural relationships.
They join the ranks of more than 80 other WVU students who have been named Fulbright Scholars throughout the program’s history.
“These alumni clearly understand the importance of immersing themselves in a different culture, the perspective it brings and the importance of making a positive global impact,” said Cate Johnson, Associate Director of the ASPIRE office . “We are excited that they will represent WVU and the United States abroad.”
Valerie Brown from Martinsburg in the major Russian Studies and English with a focus on creative writing. She will be working as an English teaching assistant at the Pedagogical University of Kraków in Poland. Passionate about cultural, linguistic and literary exchange, Browne will spend much of her time in Kraków working with Ukrainians displaced by war in their homeland.
“As a person of Ukrainian heritage, it is really meaningful that I have the opportunity to concretely minister to Ukrainian refugees,” she said. “Fulbright is a wonderful opportunity to gain international experience, new language skills and build intercultural bridges before continuing my studies as a doctoral student.”
Bridgeport native Grant DuVall will work with the Municipal Library in Viljandi, Estonia to provide American and English classes to students of different ages. The biology graduate with an addiction research minor will also work with harm reduction and public health organizations to learn more about Estonia’s addiction treatment methods.
“To spend a longer period of time in another country and integrate into a community is my dream,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to spending many of my weekends hopefully volunteering with Estonia’s largest harm reduction organization, working on their mobile medical buses while traveling and seeing more of the country.”
Hailey Hall, who completed her Masters in Teaching Foreign Languages in English, will teach English at a university in Izmir, Turkey. A native of Pittsburgh, he enjoys learning about other cultures and experiencing a different way of life.
“Traveling abroad is important because I want to build positive connections between Americans and Turks and break down stereotypes and prejudice,” she said. “I am really looking forward to trying Turkish food. I’ve only heard amazing things about it. Above all, getting to know the deep Turkish history and getting to know the language are my top priorities.”
When he was younger he lived in New Zealand, a native of Morgantown Wilson McNeil was fascinated by New Zealand’s beauty and culture as well as the nation’s commitment to environmental protection. The Civil and Environmental Engineering graduate will return to the country for his Fulbright program and will do research in the Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch.
“Fulbright gave me the opportunity to study abroad while also allowing me the honor of representing the United States and West Virginia abroad,” he said. “I expect to end my time in New Zealand with a broader perspective on environmental engineering, one that will allow me to look at the field from an international perspective. I hope that the prestige of the Fulbright Scholarship, combined with the relationships that will be forged during my year abroad, will open up many academic and professional opportunities in the future.”
Josephine Valentin from Shepherdstown will be working in Oviedo, Spain teaching English to elementary and high school students. She graduated from WVU in 2020 with a Masters and Bachelors in Elementary Education, a Bachelors in Spanish and a minor in Music Performance. She currently works in a school system where Spanish is the most common first language among students and where many other students are also learning English.
“I want to learn to speak Spanish more fluently so that I can return to the United States and better serve students who are often marginalized in the school system by connecting with families through communication in a common language,” she said . “I am also interested in teaching students who are learning English and look forward to using and learning new strategies to engage students in learning English.”
The ASPIRE office supports students who wish to apply for nationally competitive awards such as the Fulbright Scholarship. Students interested in applying can email [email protected] to schedule an appointment.
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