by Celina Dietzel '17
Three Knox Fulbright recipients from 2016 have returned from teaching in Spain, Mongolia, and Taiwan as part of English Teaching Assistantships. Although serving in different countries, all three had the chance to take in the sights, improve their language skills, and immerse themselves in new cultures.
Charlie Harned '16, Tawni Sasaki '16, and Adrian Secter '16 are among a select group of U.S. citizens who were chosen in the spring of 2016 to teach, conduct research, and provide expertise abroad through the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program. They completed their Fulbright work during the 2016-17 academic year.
Knox College has a long history with the Fulbright program. Since 2006, 18 Knox students have been selected for Fulbright awards. Overall, dozens of Knox students, faculty members, and alumni have received Fulbright fellowships and scholarships.
Charlie Harned in Spain
Harned completed his Fulbright fellowship in Madrid, Spain, where he led a secondary school Global Classrooms Project. The project is a part of an international Model United Nations competition, and encourages students to explore world cultures and lifestyles.
During the year, Harned's students discussed the socio-economic factors that lead to youth violence.
"I'm really passionate about education policy and this is my first time having full-time experience in the classroom. I think it's important for policy-makers to understand the people and the systems that their policies will affect," Harned said.
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. Harned also received a Richter award his junior year to teach English in China, which pushed him to apply for the Fulbright and continue educating abroad.
"I'm immensely thankful to the entire Spanish department at Knox, especially to Fernando Gomez and to Robin Ragan. I took a class with Fernando on Spanish history and culture and have used what I learned in that classroom almost everyday here in Spain," he said.
This fall, Harned will begin studies at Harvard Law School.
Tawni Sasaki in Taiwan
As part of her Fulbright experience, Sasaki worked in Taiwan with students in grades two through six. Her focus was on improving students' English language capabilities while contributing to cross-cultural exchange. She is grateful for Taiwan life both inside and outside the classroom.
"Although I enjoy being with my students and look forward to working with them every day, getting to know Taiwan has been the highlight of my time with Fulbright. It's a wonderful island filled with unparalleled culture, food, and an overwhelming number of things to do," she said.
While at Knox, 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.
Sasaki will start pursuing a master's degree at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University this fall. In addition, she recently was selected for the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship Program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars.
Adrian Secter in Mongolia
Secter studied abroad in Mongolia his junior year, and appreciates the opportunity to go back and make new relationships through the program.
"Fulbright introduces you to incredibly smart, driven, and funny people from across the globe," he said.
At Knox, 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.
Secter has been asked by the U.S. Embassy to serve as one of the Fulbright alumni assisting with East Asia Pacific pre-departure orientation for the newest Fulbright recipients. He also plans to attend graduate school.
The Fulbright program, in its 71st 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.
Pictured above, Tawni Sasaki in the classroom in Taiwan. Below, Charlie Harned in Madrid, Spain.