Four Creighton students receive Fulbright awards
Four Creighton students have been named 2023 Fulbright scholars. Gabby Baker, Christina Davis, Emma Moran and Megan Friel have been awarded scholarships for the 2023-2024 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. With four winners in one year, the scholars have set a new record for Creighton.
The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Fulbright winners study, conduct research and/or teach abroad for a year, and selection is highly competitive.
Samantha Senda-Cook, PhD, Creighton’s Fulbright program advisor and professor and associate chair of Communication Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences notes, “Fulbright awards are competitive and prestigious because almost every application reflects such hard work, care and potential. For these students to be selected is a wonderful reflection of Creighton's commitment to its students.”
This year’s winners are in good company. Along with past recipients from Creighton, Fulbright alumni include 62 Nobel Prize laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 78 MacArthur Fellows and 41 who have served as a head of state or government.
Davis is a senior majoring in elementary education. She’ll spend her Fulbright year in Madrid, Spain, where she’ll be an English teaching assistant at a local school.
She says, “I feel so honored to have received this award. I'm very lucky to have this opportunity to travel and have so many cool and new experiences. I am really excited to live in Spain to be immersed in a new culture, work on my Spanish and gain more teaching experience.”
Looking to the future, she notes, “This opportunity to be immersed in the Spanish culture and learn their language will give me skills to help best serve my future students.”
Moran, a cultural anthropology major, will spend her year in Colombia. There, she’ll serve as an English teaching assistant in a university classroom. She’ll also volunteer with a local organization, where she hopes to learn more about sustainability and advocacy. This will be her second time in Colombia after spending two months there in 2022 for an internship. She says, “I’m excited to continue building relationships and hopefully reconnect with some of my previous ones.”
She adds, “I also hope to be engaged in the local community in other ways, by getting involved in a community gardening project or environmental group and learning how to dance!”
She expects the experience will help shape her future too. “I want to work with nonprofits or NGOs in the future and having a fluent cross-cultural understanding is essential to sustainable community building and social justice work. Specifically, being in a classroom will allow me to learn from the visions of other young people who have different experiences than I do from growing up in Colombia.”
A student in the Master of Education program, Baker will spend eight months in an English teaching assistantship within a university in Argentina. She’ll also spend time in a supplemental volunteer project where she will help conduct water quality testing and community outreach to promote access to potable water in Argentina.
She says, “The opportunity to live abroad and be able to learn and experience another culture is something that I am really looking forward to. I am most excited about being fully immersed in a Spanish speaking country and being able to go explore and learn about the different regions and traditions of Argentina.”
Following her Fulbright experience, she says, “I hope to find individuals with similar interests and experiences to mine to continue my advocacy efforts for education, immigration and environmental justice.”
Friel is majoring in English and economics at Creighton. She will serve as an English teaching assistant in Germany at a local school for the 2023-2024 school year. She says she’s always dreamed of being a Fulbright recipient, noting, “I'm most excited to expand my skills and knowledge in such a diverse environment, especially through the dual role of learner and teacher.”
Friel hopes to focus on economic development in her future career and says, “Having diverse contextual knowledge will help me better understand what promotes growth and development on all levels.”
She adds, “I can't wait to challenge myself by committing to cultural immersion.”