Doane faculty provide strong support for Fulbright applicants

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Four Doane students are finalists for Fulbright scholarships and one is a JET Program finalist, thanks to coaching by Doane faculty.

Associate Professor of Modern Language Kristen Hetrick, herself a Fulbright scholar who spent a year teaching English in Jena, Germany, encourages students to apply for a Fulbright, an international experience that links students to new communities and cultures.

Doane has a history as a strong producer of Fulbright scholars. With four named as grantees in 2014-15, Doane made the list of top-producing schools that year. This year’s finalists will find out whether or not they are in the program between mid-March and late April, as individual countries make final decisions.

The JET Program is a competitive employment opportunity that allows young professionals to live and work in cities, towns, and villages throughout Japan. Most participants serve as assistant language teachers and work in public and private schools throughout Japan; some work as coordinators for international relations as interpreters and translators.

Hetrick begins talking with students about a potential Fulbright experience in their first or second year at Doane, with presentations to the Hansen Leadership Program first-year class and in the Honors Program first-year class.  “Word of mouth is also very powerful, as students report back about their experiences,” said Hetrick.

Although work on the formal application for a Fulbright does not typically begin until spring of the junior year to meet the October deadline, Hetrick encourages potential candidates to take classes and gain experiences throughout their college years that could strengthen their application.

“For example, my department regularly coordinates our students assisting in local English classes for adult community members seeking to learn the language. This helps them to gain valuable experience in working with English language learners, which is what one kind of Fulbright grant is intended to do abroad,” Hetrick explained.

Students with an experience studying abroad or with competency in another language also have a better chance of obtaining a Fulbright. But the student’s major is not the most important factor.

“The most important thing is that they are passionate about engaging with a new culture, no matter what the major--we can always go from there and work on an application that speaks to their strengths,” said Hetrick.