Alumna Wins Prestigious Fulbright Award
Published on May 28, 2014
Jackie Newell, a member of Susquehanna University’s Class of 2013, has been accepted for a Fulbright scholarship for 2014-15. Newell, from Cape Elizabeth, Maine, has been travelling since she graduated, but in 10 months she’ll be able to unpack her bags for an extended stay in Argentina as an English Teaching Assistant.
Newell joins four other Susquehannans to win Fulbright awards this academic year and is one of eight to win in the last two years. This distinction ranks the university among the top liberal arts colleges for Fulbright placement rate in Pennsylvania. She originally applied during her senior year at Susquehanna, but did not make it past the first approval phase. That spurred her to reapply this year and she worked even harder to prepare her application with Cymone Fourshey, associate professor of history at Susquehanna and the faculty coordinator for postgraduate advising.
“The help I got to prepare for this while I was at Susquehanna and still after was tremendous,” Newell said. “In September, I reached out to Dr. Fourshey and said I’d like to give it another go.
“I’m excited for the Fulbright because I’m going abroad to make a difference.”
Newell, who double-majored in international studies and Spanish at Susquehanna, became interested in the Fulbright program when she researched four different Latin American countries to see if the gender of the president affected laws in those countries related to women. The momentum of her research led to her desire to take a more active interest in service abroad after taking her Global Opportunities (GO) trip to Alicante, Spain, in the fall of her junior year.
Susquehanna University’s GO program is designed to give students cross-cultural experiences which they then reflect on in a credit course when they return to campus. Newell’s GO program also gave her an opportunity to learn the complexities of speaking with non-native speakers of a language.
“We had a young Japanese girl come to live at our host house and she didn’t speak English and barely spoke Spanish, so I kind of became a translator between her and our host mother because I knew what it was like to not have Spanish be your first language,” Newell said. “It was a great experience to work with someone who couldn’t just revert back to an English sentence structure.”
Newell is thrilled to be going to Argentina. She believes the development of the South American country is ongoing and she looks forward to seeing the growth firsthand.
“I loved Spain, but Argentina feels more raw,” she said. “They have a history of cowboys and yet they have the Paris of South America with Buenos Aires. You can see development going on there and that’s exciting for me.”
While in Argentina, Newell, a lifelong member of the Girls Scouts, will be getting involved with a local Girl Guides group, the international equivalent of Girl Scouts. She recognizes the confidence-building and leadership skills girls acquire when belonging to the organization and wants to help girls, especially those in their preteen years, which is when most girls drop out, gain those skills in a still developing country.