In July, Jenna Stevens will leave the United States behind to live on the other side of the world in South Korea as a Fulbright Scholar. Jenna, of Wheatland, Iowa, earned the honor in early April after a panel examined for six months her application along with hundreds of others to determine acceptance.
"This award is very prestigious and I'm thrilled and honored to have been accepted," Jenna says.
Being an Ambrosian did help her odds. In the past five years, four students from St. Ambrose have been named Fulbright Scholars. In Jenna's case, her acceptance was due in part to her work ethic, a solid academic background of three majors and four minors, and her desire to learn about another culture.
Her work ethic comes from growing up on a farm in rural Scott County, says Jenna, where she had daily farm duties in addition to going to school. It was her ability to keep everything organized and prioritized that led to her success in college.
Jenna started out majoring in pre-law, but decided better of it. With classes in English, political science and sociology already under her belt, she triple majored in those subjects instead. The same was true for her four minors, pre-law, public administration, women's studies and philosophy. And that diverse academic background will help Jenna be an engaging teacher, assigned to teach English as a Second Language.
Upon arriving-after a 20-hour flight-Jenna will undergo six weeks of training near Seoul, South Korea. Then she'll live with a Korean family for the duration of her stay.
"I'm looking forward to living with the host family and integrating into the culture," Jenna says. "I'm also interested in studying how their education system is structured because it's vastly different than ours."
Jenna's position as an ESL teacher is a coveted resource in Korea because of the country's efforts to better position itself in the global marketplace.
"This award will afford me a unique experience in a different culture and will also help me in the future when I apply for graduate programs," Jenna says. Upon her return in July 2009, Jenna will begin applying to grad school to study either sociology or education.
Anyone interested in applying for a Fulbright scholarship can contact Dr. Barbara Pitz, PitzBarbaraA@sau.edu. Applications are due in the fall.
The Fulbright Program is a highly competitive, national grant program that offers students, scholars and professionals the opportunity to teach and study in more than 140 countries. Its purpose is to foster empathy between cultures, and to develop and prepare America's future leaders for a global environment.