Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards two students
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Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards two students

Since 1968, 81 New College students have received and participated in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, according to Fulbright’s Grantee Directory, which includes institutional information up to 2018. This year, New College’s roster will increase to 83. Thesis students Evan Teal and Kaithleen Coñoepan were selected for the Fulbright. Teal received a Study/Research Award to Kenya. Coñoepan received an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Award to Spain. She recently learned that she will be placed in the Canary Islands, the southernmost autonomous community of Spain.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program, created by Congress in 1946, is the largest U.S. exchange program and offers research, study and teaching opportunities in over 140 countries to recent graduates and graduate students, according to its website.

Beginning in August 2019, Teal will be researching microbes that live in the midguts of malaria mosquitoes (Anopheles gembiae), working with the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), headquartered in Nairobi. Teal expects that he will be doing work in rural west Kenya, as well as in the main lab in Nairobi. Teal worked with the lab during his third Independent Study Project (ISP), which led him to apply to the Fulbright in Kenya.

“I had a close relationship with the people there, and I also had some unfinished work I wanted to do there,” Teal wrote in an email interview. “That meant that I had close connections in the country and a really strong project. My Fulbright research will also be based on my thesis which is pretty cool because maybe this time around my experiments will actually work.”

Coñoepan studied abroad in Spain for a year during her third-year and knew she wanted to return after graduating.

“When I started the process, I was getting ready to leave Spain and I knew I was going to miss it so I immediately started getting things ready to see how I could return,” Coñoepan said in an email interview. “The ETA position felt like the perfect fit. I used to teach the kids at the New College Child Center and I really enjoyed it.”

Teal is excited for the many opportunities he will be able to explore while in Kenya.

“I’m super excited to meet new people as well as old friends who I never thought I would see again,” Teal said. “Furthermore, the culture will be amazing. I’m hoping I’ll have enough time to travel to Mount Kilimanjaro and see the Serengeti! I’m an amateur photographer, so I want to get into wildlife photography maybe, too. Learning about the life on the islands in Lake Victoria is something else that I just am personally interested in.”

Coñoepan and Teal both encouraged students to apply to the Fulbright program, and Teal noted those who are considering applying should start now. Although it is a competitive application, Teal stated this should not dissuade someone from applying,

“Just applying for things helps improve your ability to write grants,” Teal said. “I applied (and didn’t get) tons of fellowships before I even started to apply for the Fulbright! I think most New College students could find a country they could have a competitive chance with.”

The application for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for 2020-2021 is now available. Applicants can pursue this award opportunity as rising fourth years or as recent graduates, with the support of the New College Fellowships Office. To learn more about applying to the Fulbright program contact Nicole Gelfert at ngelfert@ncf.edu. The “NCF Declare Deadline” to officially submit your interest and commitment to pursuing an award this upcoming Fulbright cycle is May 31.

Information for this article was gathered from us.fulbrightonline.org.

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