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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Three Knox Graduates Receive Fulbright Awards

Three Knox students are teaching abroad through the prestigious Fulbright program.

Three recent Knox College graduates have been chosen as recipients of prestigious Fulbright awards for international research and teaching. 

Lindsay Smith '19, Eunice Shek '18, and Sofia Gillespie '18 are studying and teaching abroad through the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Program. The program places recipients in primary and secondary schools or universities overseas to foster mutual understanding between the United States and partner nations, share knowledge across communities, and improve lives around the world.

Sara Kitsch, director of the Vovis Center for Research and Advanced Study, said that Knox students fit the criteria for applicants who have unique stories to share and also showcase enthusiasm for completely new experiences.

“They are well suited to apply not only because they come from all over the U.S. and represent a myriad of cultural backgrounds and interests, but also because Knox College encourages its students to continue to seek out the types of experiential and learning opportunities that promote curiosity, adaptation, and a motivation to learn about others,” she said.

Gillespie, an International Studies major, is working at Ventspils University of Applied Sciences and Ventspils Tehnikums in Ventspils, Latvia. While at Knox, she directed Soulfege a Cappella, worked for the Office of Sustainability, and volunteered with Faith United Methodist Church. 

“Knox really does an excellent job of providing its students with plentiful opportunities to interact with people who are different in more ways than one,” she added. “I learned how to navigate the world with both my privileges and disadvantages, and think critically about the role I play in various contexts.” 

She felt that she benefited most from having professors who listened to her as she made her post-graduation plans.“There are so many opportunities in Knox classrooms and across the globe, and Knox professors will help find them for you.” 

Smith, an anthropology/sociology major, is teaching in Malang, Indonesia. At Knox, she sang in the Cherry Street Combo and the Knox Jazz Ensemble. As a junior, she also interned at the St. Louis Art Museum and The University of Maryland, and studied abroad in Arusha, Tanzania. 

“Knox encourages students to pursue interests in a wide variety of disciplines, and also nurtures curiosity in both an academic and an applied sense,” she said. “It taught me how to ask questions—and then to revise my questions and ask them again.”

Smith said Knox provided her with a sense of community both inside and outside the classroom. “The difference between the inside and outside of a classroom is often not as static as it seems, and the relationships I've been able to develop have been a constant source of inspiration, insight, and encouragement.”

Shek is serving as an ETA in Taiwan, two years after receiving a Critical Languages Study scholarship to study in the country during her junior year. While at Knox, Shek also studied abroad in Japan and Ireland. She participated in the Diversity Abroad Global Student Leadership Summit, and was given the Overseas Ambassador Scholarship for future plans.

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, 27 Knox students have been selected for Fulbright awards. Overall, dozens of Knox students, faculty members, and alumni have received Fulbright fellowships and scholarships.

Photos at top of page: Lindsay Smith, Sofia Gillespie, Eunice Shek

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Printed on Wednesday, April 24, 2024