Samford University student Natalie Bennie and 2015 graduates Analeigh Horton and Samantha Hurley have been accepted to the prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Program. This is a record number of Samford ETA applications to be chosen by the Fulbright Program, the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.
During the 2016–17 academic year, Bennie, Horton and Hurley will teach English language abroad, serve as cultural ambassadors and take part in activities specific to their professional interests and aspirations.
Bennie, a senior communication studies major and German minor from Brentwood, Tennessee, will serve in Germany. The University Fellows honor student, Debate All American and Summa Cum Laude Debate Scholar also hopes to get involved with international debate leagues there as a way to promote intercultural communication and interpersonal connections. “The debate team is my home at Samford, and I have grown an immeasurable amount intellectually and personally as a direct result of its influence,” Bennie said.
After the Fulbright experience, Bennie plans to continue her communication studies education in graduate school.
“I got a lot of great experience in the field interning with Samford’s English Language Learner Institute, tutoring in the Communication Resource Center, and working for the Global Engagement Office,” she said. Teaching English as a second language became her passion, and she hopes to attend graduate school in the field and make it her career.
Hurley was a nursing major and Spanish minor. In addition to her Fulbright teaching and tutoring in Spain, she expects to volunteer in a local hospital or clinic to gain insight into the European health-care system and learn more Spanish medical terminology. She hopes to become certified as a Spanish medical translator and pursue a master’s degree in nursing.
Hurley said her time as a Samford International Ambassador helped prepare her for the Fulbright program. “This was the perfect outlet for me to get outside the nursing school bubble and engage with a variety of Samford’s international students,” she said.
All three of the Fulbright students cited Samford faculty and staff in multiple disciplines as essential mentors in their studies and in the Fulbright application process.
Samford Fulbright Program adviser Shannon Flynt, a 1999 Fulbright Fellow, said Samford has had regular success in guiding students to the awards. “For several years now, we’ve sent students to a variety of destinations around the world,” she said. “I hope that more Samford students, having witnessed their colleagues’ success, will consider applying for Fulbright and related grants.”