Now in its fifth year, the Fulbright Association’s Fulbright in the Classroom (FIC) program provides opportunities for alumni to share their Fulbright experiences with kindergarten-through-college students in the United States. This program supports Fulbright Association’s members who want to inspire future generations of Fulbrighters and internationally minded citizens.
During the 2022-23 school year, 18 Fulbright Association members visited 1,760 students in 42 schools and universities. As classroom guests, the Fulbrighters led activities, answered questions, and connected with students all over the United States.
After completing his Fulbright fellowship at the University of Montana in Missoula, Gaurav Misra (Fulbright to the United States, 2015) led an interactive online FIC presentation with students at Paxson Elementary.
Gaurav reported that he led a “presentation based on India and Indian culture. The presentation consisted of fun facts about Indian culture, basics of Hindi language, common phrases and greetings in Hindi, numbers in Hindi and Hindi fun tongue twisters. We also played a quick, fun quiz followed by virtual presents to all the winners. They enjoyed the presentation and asked me quite insightful questions in the end.”
Gaurav also shared video clips of his hometown and of Indian dance forms to help students understand his culture. Gaurav considered his participation in FIC as a way to further the Fulbright mission and give back to the American community.
Paula Faulkner (Fulbright to Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, 2010), a board member of the FA’s North Carolina Chapter, engaged 26 students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and 70 Alderman Elementary students in Greensboro virtually and in person. She shared about current events such as the human rights violations concerning the World Cup in Qatar.
“I discussed each of the three countries I visited in the Middle East and … I told them how great the experience was, and that the Fulbright was my first time using a passport. I asked for a show of hands for how many had passports and then had traveled abroad.” As few students said they had passports and most had not yet traveled outside of the United States, Paula encouraged students to keep studying about the world and working towards opportunities to travel inside and outside the United States.
In Iowa, Ruth Taylor (Fulbrights to Peru, 2006, 2008 and 2012) encouraged 336 students from Lenox Community School District and the Bedford Community School District to earn their baccalaureate degrees and strive to apply to become Fulbright students or professional scholars in the future.
Ruth’s first-hand knowledge of Peruvian values and culture proved to be both very interesting and inspirational to the middle school students. She was even asked to return and expand her audience because, as school staff members expressed, “You have too important of a message to limit just to middle school students.” She was called back by Bedford Community School District to speak to an auditorium of high school students and called back by Lenox Community School District to speak to additional classes of junior high students, some of which were special education students.
Gaurav, Paula, and Ruth’s efforts to share about the richness of global cultures positively impacted the students they addressed.
As Ruth put it, “I could not have predicted the ‘joy’ I felt and the ‘closeness’ I felt to the middle/junior high and senior high school students … that came with my feeling that I was of help to them.”
Thank you to all alumni who participated in the Fulbright in the Classroom program over the past five years. We encourage all alumni to share their Fulbright experiences with students to prepare and inspire the next generation of Fulbrighters.
Fulbright alumni who participated in FIC 2022-2023
Nadira Branch, Fulbright to Haiti and Cote D’Ivoire, 2013 and 2019-21
Dom Caristi, Fulbright to Slovenia and Greece, 1995 and 2009
Leslie Cordie, Fulbright to Saint Kitts and Nevis, 2021-22
Richard Elaver, Fulbright to the Netherlands, 2005
Paula Faulkner, Fulbright to Qatar, Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates, 2010
Nicole Jefferson, Fulbright to Mexico, 2009
Kelly La Venture, Fulbright to Mauritius and Cambodia, 2018-21 and 2022
Leland Lazarus, Fulbright to Panama, 2013
Gaurav Misra, Fulbright to the United States, 2015
Grace Mukupa, Fulbright to Tajikistan, 2012
Itto Outini, Fulbright to the United States, 2017-19
Anita Pasmantier, Fulbright to Italy, 2017-18
Ruth Taylor, Fulbright to Peru, 2006, 2008 and 2012
Mainhia Thao, Fulbright to Laos, 2019-20
Kevin Thompson, Fulbright to Indonesia and Singapore, 2014
Brendan Thomson, Fulbright to Nepal 2013 and Vietnam 2014
Shun-Yung Kevin Wang, Fulbright to Taiwan, 2021
Herma Williams, Fulbright to South Africa, 1996
FIC locations in 2022-2023
Phenix City, LaFayette, Valley
Gainesville, Miami, Sarasota
Saint Paul, Minneapolis, Bemidji, Mahnomen
Durham, Greensboro, Boone, Winston Salem