4 SESP Students Win Fulbright Fellowships

4 SESP Students Win Fulbright Fellowships

SESP seniors Izora Baltys, Brenna Ledvora, Rabeya Mallick and Karen Wilber were awarded Fulbright fellowships for South Africa, Germany, France and Vietnam, respectively. All four will serve as English teaching assistants, helping to teach the English language while serving as cultural ambassadors for the U.S.

Izora Baltys

Izora Baltys
Baltys applied for a Fulbright to South Africa to experience "an entirely new country, culture and context." Studying abroad in Ghana inspired her to learn more about Africa. "The most important lesson I learned during my five months in Ghana was how much I still don’t know," she says.

"My studies in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University have given me an excellent preliminary understanding of complex issues like poverty and inequality, and during my semester abroad at the University of Ghana, I became exposed to an entirely new realm of social, economic, political and philosophical questions that I had never before considered. Nevertheless, I consistently return to education as the root – and solution to – our most grave social and societal problems. I am eager to be part of this solution by contributing my skills and experience to the mission of the Fulbright program," Baltys wrote in her application essay.

Brenna Ledvora

Brenna Ledvora
In Germany, Ledvora will teach English at a school in Lower Saxony. In addition, she will pursue an adjunct project, such as either continuing her senior thesis research on how German women experience work and family or participating in sustainability organizations such as the Grüne Jugend (Green Youth). 

Although Ledvora has studied German for eight years and traveled to Germany for study abroad and research projects, she has never lived in Germany for an extended period with the opportunity “to truly learn through experiencing the culture and everyday life.” She says, “I wanted to apply for a Fulbright to combine my interest in German with my interest in the education system. As an English teaching assistant, I will be able to see the German school system and compare it to my experiences with the American system. Hopefully, when I return to the U.S. from my Fulbright year, I will be able to apply this new knowledge to my future career.”

Rabeya Mallick

Rabeya Mallick
Mallick will be working in a high school in Argenteuil, a suburb of Paris. While she is teaching, she also hope to also get involved with after-school enrichment programs and activities with younger students.

“I have been studying French since junior high and I have always had a passion for teaching, so combining the two seemed like the perfect idea,” says Mallick, who notes that a conversation with her high school French teacher originally sparked her interest in teaching in France. She decided to apply for the Fulbright because it offered “a great opportunity to work and live in France, solidifying what I've been learning about the French language, as well as the French educational system.”

Karen Wilber

Karen Wilber
Next year, Wilber will be teaching English at a high school in Lạng Sơn, a northern province of Vietnam. She will also be creating and promoting cultural exchange programs.

“I applied for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Vietnam to have the opportunity to work with students in a direct way and be involved in efforts that promote educational equality,” says Wilber. “My mom is from Vietnam, and I've always hoped for the opportunity to get to live there, learn about the history and culture, and contribute to the community in a meaningful way.

The Fulbright is the most widely recognized and prestigious international exchange program in the world. The intent of the international educational exchange program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is to foster leadership and build understanding between scholars in the United States and other cultures. 

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 7/13/16