Paying it Forward

The value is in the process

Fulbright applicants pay it forward with Top 5 lessons

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. This year, 49 JMU graduating seniors and alumni applied for a Fulbright U.S. Student Grant. Below, several applicants share what they learned from the process. 

1.    It will help you crystalize your future goals.

The application process for Fulbright helps applicants forge and articulate their career paths. Theresa Perez (’20), a vocal education major, said, “Fulbright has helped me get to know my goals and future direction by showing me how much I love teaching.”

“Fulbright has helped me get to know my goals and future direction by showing me how much I love teaching.”
Theresa Perez (’20)

Honors graduate Abigail Weiderhold (’20), who majored in intelligence analysis, said, “Fulbright helped me redefine what my future goals are and narrow into more of what I wanted to do in life.”

2.    It will help you synthesize your JMU experience.

Most fellowship applications ask applicants to demonstrate how the pieces of their college career came together. Applying to Fulbright helped Eric Rondeau (’19, ’20M), who majored in interdisciplinary liberal studies and education, see that “JMU has done a great job preparing me for any scenario I may come into.”

3.    It will help you become a better writer.

Fulbright requires an intensive and unique process of writing and revision. “This is writing a research paper about your dreams, with a chance that everything you’ve written could happen in a year, or not,” said Ciara Brennan (’17), who majored in writing, rhetoric and technical communication. “This process is both highly professional and deeply personal.”

4.    It will teach you more than you could ever expect about yourself.

Elena Rogers, a marketing major who plans to graduate this spring, said, “My dreams are achievable and there are people in the world willing to help me achieve them. Whether it be faculty telling me I could include more about myself in my essays, or seeing other women who have achieved similar feats, my desire to achieve what I once thought was impossible is strengthened.”  

5.    It will help you realize you can do more than you imagined.

Alison Sall (’19, ’20M), who majored in mathematics and education, said, “I’ve learned that I am resilient and can do anything I set my mind to.” Brennan added, “I know my goals now, I know what I’m passionate about, and I know I can do hard things.”

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