Four Austin College seniors have been selected as Fulbright semifinalists for English Teaching Assistantships in the 2020-2021 academic year. Those selected to receive the prestigious Fulbright Grant will spend an academic year abroad engaging with the host community and sharing creative insight while serving as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. The final selections will be announced in late April after review by the supervising agency in the host countries.
“Austin College has produced more Fulbrights per capita than any institution in Texas,” says Dr. Patrick Duffey, Spanish professor and campus Fulbright Program advisor. “These students make excellent cultural ambassadors because they think and write critically, and many have volunteered abroad.”
Samantha Fawcett ’20 of Plano, Texas, is the daughter of Jim and Gina Fawcett. She is a psychology major and leadership studies minor who has applied to serve as an English Teaching Assistant in Malaysia. “I am applying as an ETA in Malaysia because I want to become directly involved in helping to improve the education of students, in a way that would multiply their opportunities through understanding a language that is spoken in many areas of the world,” Fawcett said.
Lois A. Bronaugh ’20 of Buda, Texas, has applied to serve as an ETA in Germany. She is the daughter of Bert and Vonda Bronaugh, and she is majoring in history and creative writing and minoring in German. “The German faculty and classes at Austin College were excellent at exposing me to the diversity of German culture, literature, and politics,” said Bronaugh. “The people and programs at Austin College have instilled in me a passion for the international community that I hope to take to the Fulbright and beyond as a global citizen.”
Zaliah Finegan ’20 of Bayside, California, is the daughter of Eric Finegan and Gwenn Rickards. She is majoring in political science and communication and has applied to serve as an ETA in Malaysia. “The experiences Austin College provided me outside the classroom motivated me to seek teaching abroad opportunities. Model United Nations sparked my interest in learning about different cultures, and interning in the Academic Affairs Office prompted me to pursue a career in education, specifically ensuring that all students have opportunities for quality learning.”
Katherine Seibert ’20 of Medina, Texas, is the daughter of Frank and Susan Seibert. She is majoring in economics and has a minor in Spanish. She has applied for an ETA in South Korea. “I’m interested in serving in South Korea to experience the rich culture and stand as an ambassador for the United States. It’s more important now that ever to learn about other cultures so that we can be inclusive members of the global community.”
As of 2019, Austin College has a total of 43 Fulbright awards, and since 2008 has averaged 2.6 Fulbright awards per year. Austin College provides a rigorous curriculum for students in foreign languages and many internationally related disciplines.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with 46 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and more than 100 expert faculty members allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. Austin College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.