NSU announces second consecutive Fulbright recipient
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Northeastern State University alumna Thangam Varghese has been named the institution’s third Fulbright U.S. Student Program award recipient and second consecutive.
Varghese received an English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) through the program and will be teaching English as a second language in Timor-Leste for the 2023-2024 academic year.
“I was ecstatic when I found out I got the award, which was quickly followed by a wave of anxiety,” Varghese said. “I have never done anything similar to this position before. I’ve never worked abroad and haven’t lived away from family for that long either. But I feel very lucky. I love learning about different cultures and trying new foods, so I’m very excited to learn about the culture and customs of the people of Timor-Leste.”
ETA programs place Fulbrighters in classrooms abroad to aid local English teachers. ETAs help teach English language while serving as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. The age and academic level of the students varies by country, ranging from kindergarten to university level.
“My career goal is to work in public diplomacy, and more specifically, in diplomacy,” Varghese said. “This position will give me insight into what such a life and career could be like and whether it would be the right fit for me. I’m excited to represent the United States in Timor-Leste, and work with people from all walks of life. I want to thank my colleagues and mentors from NSU, Dr. Vassar, Dr. Athena Wooldridge, professor Brian Vickers and Lisa Johnson, who believed in me and encouraged me to apply for the position.”
Varghese, a 2023 NSU graduate in Business Administration, learned of the opportunity while working for NSU’s Upward Bound program. After seeing a window cling outside the Office of International Programs she inquired inside and was put in contact with Dr. Andrew Vassar, NSU professor and Fulbright program adviser.
“It is important for staff and faculty to send potential candidates my way if they think they are potential teachers of English as a Second Language or have some other skill to offer,” Vassar said. “As I say, if you see someone who wants to travel internationally, say something!”
Vassar said awards like Fulbright are important for students because they open new horizons and have preferred hiring for federal jobs for up to a year after.
Notable Fulbright alumni include 62 Nobel Prize laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize recipients, 78 MacArthur Fellows and 41 who have served as a head of state or government.
Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected in an open, merit-based competition that considers leadership potential, academic and/or professional achievement and record of service.
The deadline to apply for the 2024-2025 academic year is Oct. 10. Students interested in applying to the Fulbright Program are encouraged to email Vassar at email@example.com or visit fulbright program.org.
About the Fulbright Program
The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program and is supported by the people of the United States and partner countries around the world. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the program.
Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 400,000 participants from over 160 countries the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright program is an annual appropriation by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support.