Keara Crook '19 has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Vietnam for the upcoming 2020-21 academic year. Since graduating in 2019, she has been a post-baccalaureate fellow at Knox, working with the Asian Studies department and the Center for Teaching and Learning.
“Knox allowed me to pursue my interests and double major in them: biology and Asian Studies,” she said. “I focused on Asian Elephant conservation as my biology senior research and on analog film photography in Asian Studies. I love that I was able to do everything I have a passion for and connect them.”
Crook explained that the multitude of study abroad options at Knox was the largest contributor in her preparation for the Fulbright. “I have had a lot of experience with study abroad: Gilman for summer research on Asian elephant conservation in Thailand through ISDSI, direct enrollment through IES to Trinity College Dublin, the Knox China course, and a Wayne State Confucius China grant. I believe that all of this will really show future employers that I love promoting the vast global classroom. Currently, I hope to get a job with IES after my Fulbright is complete.”
Crook also has fond memories of her involvement with the Knox Ultimate Frisbee team. “They are a true family and will be one of the reasons I continue to revisit campus,” she said. “Before [meeting] them, I did not see myself as an extrovert or a leader. I left the team after being a spirit-captain for a year and a captain for two years. The experiences I had with the diverse group of plastic throwers helped me become a Fulbright finalist. My proposed community engagement aspect of my Fulbright grant will actually be teaching students how to play ultimate!”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it isn't clear yet when Crook will be able to begin her Fulbright. In spite of the uncertainty, Crook encourages everyone to keep an open mind.
“I think the biggest thing is that life is currently throwing so many curveballs at everyone, and it’s how we hit those that matter the most. I am hoping my Fulbright will happen in January; if not, I will plan accordingly and start pursuing other avenues.”
The Fulbright program operates in more than 160 countries and is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. Since 2006, 28 Knox students have been selected for Fulbright awards. Overall, dozens of Knox students, faculty members, and alumni have received Fulbright fellowships and scholarships.
More information about the Fulbright programs can be found on the organization’s website.