From cultivating community champions in Colombia to researching the experiences of Muslims in Belgium, BCLA Fulbright scholars will draw from their liberal arts education to positively impact the world around them through hands-on work abroad.
Three BCLA alumni are among the more than 1,900 U.S. citizens who will participate in the 2018-19 Fulbright U.S. Student Program. An additional grant was offered, but declined. The Fulbright Program is widely recognized as the leading international exchange program. Since its establishment in 1946, the program has been providing our country’s best students, scholars and professionals with the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
Jesse Jovel ’12, M.A. ’14, will teach English in Colombia. Since graduating with a degree in history and a master’s degree in education, Jovel has taught history, English and writing courses at Verbum Dei High School, and has also served as its dean of students and academics for the past three years. A passion for working to resolve inequities in Los Angeles and around the world attracted him to the Fulbright program.
Jovel plans to partner with nonprofits and community organizations to provide targeted academic resources that will improve the quality of education in Colombia. He credits BCLA’s professors and courses for providing him with the academic, professional and practical skills he needs to successfully immerse himself in a new culture.
“I look forward to fostering meaningful relationships with the students and colleagues I work with, learning about their culture and challenges, and empowering them through mentorship and leadership development,” said Jovel.
Lauren Rowland ’18, a liberal studies major, has been awarded a Fulbright fellowship to work as an English teaching assistant in Laos. Influenced by her experience teaching abroad in Florence, Italy, Rowland is interested in modifying teaching strategies to meet the needs of all students. Rowland said working as an ETA in Laos will give her the opportunity to develop a keener understanding of teaching in a foreign country and having adults as students. “BCLA has greatly prepared me for this experience by instilling in me the importance of cultural awareness and education inside and outside of the classroom,” said Rowland. “I hope to return to the U.S. more knowledgeable about creating an effective classroom environment, especially for English language learners.”
Nadine Iskandar ’17, will pursue a master’s degree in European studies at the University of Leuven. Her master’s thesis, “The Radicalization of Muslim Diasporas in Belgium,” will explore the lived experiences of Muslim communities in Belgium in an effort to understand the rise of
Islamist extremism and the expanding efforts of European states to police extremism and, by extension, Muslim communities in general.
As a political science and women’s and gender studies double major, Iskandar completed an internship with the Ambassador of the League of Arab States to the United Nations researching Middle East security issues.
Her Fulbright project builds on this internship and her political science honors thesis, which analyzed the role of Muslim women in de-radicalization efforts in the UK. “I know that the research I do will contribute towards something great,” Iskandar said.