Two Knox college students, Nicholas Nurre '18 and Monica Weller '18, have been chosen for prestigious Fulbright awards for the 2018-19 academic year. Both will serve as English teaching assistants—Nurre in Macau and Weller in Mongolia.
Nurre and Weller are among a select group of U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research, and provide expertise abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.
"To be selected for a Fulbright is a big accomplishment," said Sara Kitsch, Director of the Vovis Center for Research and Advanced Study at Knox College. "There are over 6,000 applications submitted to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program annually, with about a quarter of these students selected as finalists to receive an award."
"Because the Fulbright program is about promoting cross-cultural understanding, the program seeks individuals who offer a unique embodiment of U.S. culture and who display enthusiasm for experiencing a new one," Kitsch added. "Knox College students are particularly well suited to apply due to both the encouragement and availability of these types of experiential and learning opportunities during their time at Knox."
Nurre is a double major in English and philosophy. He has served as president of Sigma Nu fraternity, co-chair of Honor Board, and section editor for Catch magazine. As a junior, he studied abroad through the IES Oxford Direct Enrollment program.
"Knox was great as preparation for this [Fulbright] program because it makes leadership opportunities readily available. There were so many ways to get involved and develop interpersonal and professional skills," he said. "Also, the College's emphasis on diversity made it very easy for me to articulate Fulbright's values with respect to international cooperation."
Weller is an international relations major with minors in Japanese and Gender & Women's Studies. She has been involved with International Club since starting at Knox and is a former co-president of the club. She also has participated in the Prairie Fire swim team and played women's water polo, served as a resident assistant, worked as a writing tutor, and managed cultural houses on campus. As a junior, she studied abroad during the fall in Amman, Jordan, and during the spring in Tokyo, Japan, at Waseda University. As a sophomore, she participated in a two-week winter break program in Ghana, which focused on West African dancing and drumming.
Weller said that Knox has provided her with a sense of community that she can draw upon to connect with others from around the world.
"I've always been interested in learning about the world, and my experiences at Knox have reinforced this curiosity!" she said. "I've had the opportunities to place myself in leadership positions, to encourage others, and also when to step back and be supported by others, and this flexibility in thinking definitely translates to navigating other cultural contexts."
The Fulbright 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.
Fulbright awards are funded by the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Applicants are chosen according to factors such as the quality of their proposal, their academic record, and their personal qualifications.
Knox College has a long history with the Fulbright program. Since 2006, 24 Knox students have been selected for Fulbright awards. Overall, dozens of Knox students, faculty members, and alumni have received Fulbright fellowships and scholarships.