Another University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire alumna has been named a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award recipient, bringing to four the number of Blugolds who have received the prestigious honor this year.
Samantha Dulak, a 2016 UW-Eau Claire graduate from Rothschild, has been selected for a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship in Brazil during the 2018-19 academic year.
Dulak joins three other UW-Eau Claire graduates who also have received Fulbright Teaching Assistantships this year. Awards received by Ellen Bialka, Amy Brown and Stephanie Kuski to teach English in the Czech Republic, Colombia and Germany, respectively, were announced in a previous story.
“Four Fulbright students in one year is a UW-Eau Claire record,” said Cheryl Lochner-Wright, a study abroad coordinator in UW-Eau Claire’s Center for International Education and the campus advisor for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. “It really speaks to the academic excellence and community engagement of our undergraduates.”
In all, 19 UW-Eau Claire graduates have received Fulbright U.S. Student awards over the past 10 years.
Like her fellow Blugold Fulbright recipients, Dulak’s experiences with new languages and cultures during her time at UW-Eau Claire helped lead her to the Fulbright award. Dulak earned her bachelor's degree in Spanish and Latin American studies, pursued a minor in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and studied abroad in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, as well as in Spain.
Since her May 2016 graduation from UW-Eau Claire, Dulak has served the Minneapolis Public Schools through AmeriCorps — the first year with Minnesota Alliance With Youth at an international high school serving recently immigrated students, and the second year with Reading Partners as a regional site coordinator, managing volunteers' literacy interventions with students.
In Brazil, Dulak will teach English at a university, and her students will themselves be future English teachers.
Dulak is excited to learn more about Brazil during her time there.
“I'm looking forward to seeing the similarities to other Latin American countries I've been to and yet how vastly different and unique it'll be,” she said. “Brazil is such a large country, and I can't wait to learn more about its diverse cultures.
She also looks forward to learning more about international education during her teaching assistantship.
“In Minneapolis I was able to work with students from all over the world, primarily East Africa and Latin America,” Dulak said. “It was very informative for me to see how students from different cultures perceive education and study differently, and I'm looking forward to seeing how Brazilian students learn.”
The Fulbright Program aims to promote international goodwill, and Dulak has thoughts on how she hopes to do just that.
“Traveling has taught me how pervasive stereotyping can be,” Dulak said. “While in Brazil, I hope to discuss some of these stereotypes about Americans and where these stem from. Often people have just one image of what someone from that culture looks and acts like. This simply isn't true for people from the U.S., Brazil, or anywhere else. This Fulbright experience is a great opportunity to develop mutual understanding between cultures, and I'm grateful for this opportunity to teach and learn.”
Top photo caption: UW-Eau Claire 2016 graduate Samantha Dulak has received a 2018-19 Fulbright Teaching Assistantship in Brazil. Here she is pictured at Machu Picchu, where she visited while in Peru as a UW-Eau Claire student for her Teaching English as a Foreign Language practicum.