A year after applying for the prestigious international exchange, senior Spanish education major Joel Newman learned in October that he would be receiving a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Uruguay for eight months, beginning in March 2017. He sees this opportunity as another important chance to experience part of the world as a Blugold.
"While at UWEC, I was able to study abroad in Costa Rica in 2015, and I participated in an International Fellows research project in Peru this past summer. I loved having the chance to represent UWEC and the United States, and this scholarship will give me another opportunity to do just that. The Fulbright Program is all about creating win-wins; my students and I will learn each other's languages, cultures, share experiences together and hopefully form a lasting international connection," Newman said.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program of the United States, and recipients represent the U.S. as cultural ambassadors while they are overseas, helping to enhance mutual understanding between Americans and the people in their host country. There are more than 100,000 Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumni who have received grants since the program began in 1948.
"UW-Eau Claire has had more than double the number of Fulbright students than any other master's-level public university in Wisconsin or Minnesota," said Cheryl Lochner-Wright, UW-Eau Claire's campus adviser for the U.S. Student Fulbright Program. "The Fulbright Program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs."
The Fulbright is the single largest U.S. exchange program, with a focus on building international understanding through individual interaction, and UW-Eau Claire students have a long history of program success. The first Blugold recipient was in 1972.
Newman, a University Honors Program participant from Red Wing, Minnesota, is the 33rd Blugold to be awarded a Fulbright, and says he owes many thanks in this accomplishment to a couple of faculty members.
"Cheryl Lochner-Wright and Dr. Jeff Vahlbusch each read through dozens of drafts of my application essays and were extremely helpful throughout the application process. I have really appreciated their hard work and I know that UW-Eau Claire's success with the Fulbright Program is due in large part to the guidance of those two individuals," Newman said.
"UW-Eau Claire is among the top Fulbright producers in the country over the last 10 years, which is a testament to the professors and students at our school. I'm lucky to have had teachers, students and teammates who have helped me, supported me and encouraged me over the years and I'm excited that I'll get the opportunity to represent UW-Eau Claire in Uruguay."