Five Hamilton College seniors will embark to other countries through the prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship program, where they will polish their teaching skills, learn new languages, and serve as cultural ambassadors.

Meet the Students

Gabriela de Mendonca Gomes
Literature and Philosophy Major
Headed to Perú

Why did you choose Perú?
I knew I wanted to go somewhere where I spoke the language. Having to use a translator felt like a boundary that would prevent me from interacting and serving the community best. Looking at the country’s program, I realized that working in Perú would guarantee that I get to work with older students (high school through teaching colleges), which is the work I’ve felt I’m best at pedagogically from my experiences tutoring and TAing since high school.

How did Hamilton inspire you to apply for the Fulbright?
I TAed for Professor Justin Clark and worked under Professor Marianne Janack, and they’ve both influenced me personally and professionally in my desire to teach by giving me experience and guidance about programs. In the one class I was lucky to take with Professor Jane Springer, she told me early in the semester that she saw that I was going to be a teacher, and her intuition in my sophomore-self gave me confidence in what was at that point a rather blurry self-understanding about my future goals. I thereafter sought opportunities that would further my teaching experience. 

Besides TAing, working at the Oral Communication Center under Amy Gaffney and at the Writing Center under Jennifer Ambrose also influenced and improved my ability to teach. Being a tutor has been one of the most meaningful non-academic activities in college for me. I truly believe that many of the opportunities I have gotten, including the Fulbright, have in some way arisen from my experience as an employee of those centers.

What are you hoping to learn during your Fulbright?
Besides exploring the country and learning from its people and traditions, I think I’m really going to relish teaching as my full-time job. I’ve always thought teaching was an incredible way to help and influence people; I’ve found my most important mentors and some of my closest friends in my teachers. The Perú Fulbright Commission’s website says that they want to use education as a tool for peace, and, albeit a lofty goal, I completely endorse that mission.

Eric Moss
World Politics and German Studies Major
Headed to Germany

How did Hamilton influence your decision to apply for the Fulbright?
My time as a German major here has been as thrilling as it has been stimulating, and I am deeply grateful for all of the support I have received from the department, in particular for professors Michael Lipkin, Franziska Schweiger, and Chris Burwick. I am extremely excited to represent Hamilton while abroad, and my time on the Hill has greatly shaped the person I will be when I depart soon.

Why did you choose Germany?
I hope that, in heading to Germany, I will be able to contribute toward a place that has contributed so much to my own intellectual development.

What are you hoping to learn during your Fulbright?
I hope to get as involved in my local community as possible, fully immerse myself in the culture, and contribute to my new environment through my own identity as a native of New York and the U.S.

What do you plan to do after your Fulbright?
I plan to attend law school in a couple years and concentrate in international human rights.

Jessica Parsons
Government Major
Heading to Taiwan

How did Hamilton help you to “Know Thyself?”
Since my freshman year, my biggest supporter and my lifeline at Hamilton, Brenda Davis, the associate director of Opportunity Programs, has encouraged me to go out and explore. She has been with me through thick and thin, and her guidance has kept me going, even when obstacles seemed insurmountable.

Through the New York City Program and interning at a literacy nonprofit in South Bronx called Start Lighthouse, I discovered my passion for childhood education. Rina Madhani, the founder and CEO of Start Lighthouse, along with Coordinator Aura Valdez and Director Deborah Karmin Rose, showed me that persistence, determination, and faith in one’s mission can truly make anything happen. The Chinese Department, especially Professor Junqing (Jessie) Jia, taught me to love and find passion in language learning but also give myself grace throughout the process, since it takes both hard work and patience.

Why did you choose Taiwan?
More than experiencing Taiwan’s beautiful culture, I hope to learn the Taiwanese language because it is the same dialect of Mandarin that most Chinese Americans speak — Southern Min — and I can use it when I return to the U.S.

What are you hoping to learn during your Fulbright?
More humility, gentleness, flexibility, and resilience. There will be endless opportunities to build relationships and learn from those around me, especially from the kids I will be working with.

Eliana Good
Art and Mathematics Major
Headed to Czech Republic

Why did you choose the Czech Republic?
The key reason for me was I saw the intersection of a lot of my interests. There’s a really rich arts history there with art nouveau and Cubism, as well as the music aspect there. So there’s this really rich art scene historically and then there’s also this Jewish history there too, and still a Jewish community there, although the vast majority of communities were decimated during World War II. There’s also a really big outdoors culture there, like hiking and skiing. These are all interests of mine as I’m an art major.  The Czech Republic is a really great intersection of all these things.

What do you hope to get out of your Fulbright experience?
Personal growth. I’m interested in seeing and really exploring who I am with all of the communities and support structures that I’m used to having very close by and very built-in no longer there. I want to explore who I am outside of that and how I create these opportunities and be more self-reliant. I think being in a country where I don’t speak the language, I imagine it forcing me to really delve deep into my interpersonal skills and what really makes me, me and how I can connect with people.

How did Hamilton inspire you to apply for the Fulbright?
There’s been this network of a ton of professors and mentors who have really had my back and supported me and had my best interest at heart, like my squash coach and a number of professors that have really pushed me to excel and helped me with a ton of problem sets for math and art critiques. Having support structures in each of these communities, like the math community, the art community, the Jewish community, and the orientation community, and having adults in place in these areas has fostered environments where I can really explore who I am.

What are your plans post-Fulbright?
I plan to return to the Bank of America in North Carolina to work for the strategy and business ventures team.

Gweneth Child
French and Francophone Studies Major
Headed to Taiwan

Why did you choose Taiwan?
I wanted to go somewhere where I spoke the language, and I’ve been taking Chinese here since my sophomore year. I went to France last year to study abroad, but I also speak some German from high school. So, it was between Chinese-speaking, German-speaking, and French-speaking countries. I eventually went with Taiwan because it seemed like the best program in terms of supporting the grantees. They have people on the ground who are really engaged in helping the student teachers, and they have a big focus on engagement with the community.

What do you hope to get out of your Fulbright experience?
I want to go into teaching so the Fulbright is a great route for me since it’s directly linked to what I want to do in the future. It’s going to give me a lot of teaching experience in a classroom that I haven’t had before. I’m also excited to see more of the world. I went to France last year and that was the first time I’ve ever been outside of the U.S. It was incredible. You don’t realize how much of a bubble the U.S is until you get out of it because it’s so huge. I think making connections across the world is fantastic. It’s so important to have people moving around the world because so many of the problems with the world are being able to “other” people and that gets a lot harder when you know people from different places.

How did Hamilton help you to “Know Thyself?”
I really like the liberal arts aspect at Hamilton. When I was choosing my classes, I always left at least one or two fun classes in my schedule because I didn’t know what I wanted to major in, and that’s one of the reasons I started taking Chinese. I ended up really liking it and the professors were fantastic. If I had never taken Chinese, I never would have even looked at the Taiwan program. That’s just one of those things that happens that you never expect, and it changes the course of your life.

Current students and recent graduates who want to learn about applying for the Fulbright US Student Program should contact Hamilton Fulbright Program Advisor Lisa Grimes.

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