Three graduating seniors at Knox College have been named to receive Fulbright awards to teach English next year in Mongolia, Spain, and Taiwan.
Charlie Harned, Tawni Sasaki, and Adrian Secter are among a select group of U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research, and provide expertise abroad for the 2016-17 academic year through the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program.
Harned, a political science major, will teach in Madrid, Spain. Sasaki, a double major in international relations and modern languages (French and Mandarin Chinese), will teach in Taichung, Taiwan. Secter, an international relations major, will work with teachers in the foreign language department at the Mongolian Institute for Engineering and Technology, located in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar.
"While these particular students share a passionate interest in international relations and politics, that isn't a prerequisite for being awarded a Fulbright," said Mariangela Maguire, interim director of Knox College's Gerald & Carol Vovis Center for Research & Advanced Study. "What is a prerequisite, and what Knox encourages students to develop, is an ability to face life's challenges, at home and abroad, with grace and grit."
Harned, Sasaki, and Secter have pursued a wide range of opportunities while at Knox.
- Harned served as president of the Knox College Student Senate and captain of the Prairie Fire men's soccer team, was selected as a Newman Civic Fellow, and interned at the White House.
- Sasaki served as co-president of Model United Nations, Discourse editor for The Knox Student (Knox College's award-winning, student-run newspaper), and she received a Gilman Scholarship and Critical Language Enhancement Award to study abroad at Peking University in Beijing, China.
- Secter served as treasurer, vice president, and conference coordinator for Model United Nations, and he studied abroad in Mongolia and had an internship with the Institute for Strategic Studies, a government foreign policy think tank.
"Charlie, Tawni, and Adrian are extraordinary members of the Knox student body but also typical examples of Knox students who know they are in a community that believes in them, expects the best from them, and supports them in all of their endeavors," Maguire said.
"Encouraged to pursue rigorous coursework, undergraduate research, and study away programs, Charlie, Tawni, and Adrian also lived up to our expectation of giving back through service projects, peer tutoring, and campus leadership," she added. "What Fulbright reviewers saw in these applicants, and what Knox faculty and staff hope to cultivate in all students, is thoughtful, passionate engagement in the world around them that prepares them to seize great opportunities such as Fulbright."
The Fulbright program, in its 70th year, now operates in more than 160 countries and is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. Fulbright recipients address critical global challenges in various subject areas, such as sustainable energy and public health, while building relationships, knowledge, and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States and the world.
The Fulbright awards are given by the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Award recipients are chosen on the basis of their academic and professional achievement, as well as their record of service and demonstrated leadership.
Knox College has a long history with the Fulbright program. Since 2006, 16 Knox students have been selected for Fulbright awards. Overall, dozens of Knox students, faculty members, and alumni have received Fulbright fellowships and scholarships.
(Photos above, from left: Charlie Harned, Tawni Sasaki, and Adrian Secter.)