John Brown University Student Receives Fulbright Award

John Brown University English Education senior, Sarah Hubbard, was selected to receive a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Turkey for the 2015-16 academic year. Hubbard will graduate from John Brown University in May and depart for Turkey this fall to take up her appointment at a Turkish university.

The Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship is a component of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and is sponsored and managed by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs under the U.S. Department of State. Hubbard submitted her application against undergraduate, masters, and Ph. D. students nationwide and is one of approximately 1,700 students to receive this highly competitive, prestigious fellowship.

“Sarah is the first JBU student to receive a Fulbright award,” said Dr. Brad Gambill, associate professor of English and coordinator or the Office of Undergraduate Scholarship & Prestigious Fellowships. “Sarah is a go-getter: presenting at research conferences since her freshman year, pursing international teaching experience, maintaining great community relationships. She was a strong candidate before she even began the application process.”

During her time at JBU, Hubbard spent two summers teaching English in China and Lithuania and discovered that teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) was something she loved. Hubbard initially applied for the Fulbright at the encouragement of Gambill after seeing a flyer on a bulletin board.

“The Fulbright seemed like a long shot,” Hubbard said. “But, Dr. Gambill assured me that even the experience of applying would be worth it as I worked through who I am and what I am most passionate about in life.”

With the support and feedback of faculty advisors Ms. Grace Davis, Dr. Ed Klotz and Dr. Warren Roby, Hubbard completed the extensive application process last fall that included a personal statement, statement of grant purpose, multiple letters of recommendations, and a comprehensive survey of her hobbies and extracurricular activities. She submitted her application in October 2014 and was notified in January 2015 that her application had been recommended to the Turkish Fulbright Committee.

“I selected Turkey because it has a beautiful mix of Eastern and Western Cultures with a unique history of Islamic and Christian influence,” Hubbard said. “The more I read and researched each of the options, the more Turkey stuck out to me.”

Hubbard is most excited to meet her Turkish students this fall.

“Students really are the best part of teaching,” Hubbard said. “I have enjoyed getting to know students from a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds even here in Siloam Springs.”

Hubbard’s faculty advisors are thrilled for her as well. Sarah’s honors thesis advisor and Associate Professors of Education Grace Davis says that Hubbard has a knack for teaching English as a second language (ESL).

“There is no doubt about Sarah’s ability to weave knowledge of language and culture into teaching strategies for student success,” Davis said. “What blesses me is her care and commitment to her ESL students. She works hard for her students and is committed to the art of teaching in a unique and beautiful way.”

After completing her nine-month appointment in Turkey, Hubbard plans to return to the U.S. and continue to teach ESL in the public school system. She endeavors to pursue a masters degree in TESOL and eventually a Ph. D.

“We are proud of all that Sarah has accomplished while at JBU,” said Dr. Chip Pollard, JBU president. “ She has been an incredible asset in shaping our community on campus through her involvement in small group bible studies, JBU’s Honors Program and English Honors Society and representing JBU throughout the world through her various presentations at national undergraduate conferences and summer study abroad programs.”

Hubbard graduated from Branson High School in Missouri in 2011. She chose to attend JBU for her undergraduate degree initially because of its proximity to home, but she credits JBU for her incredible growth these past four years.

“The person I was as a freshman could not have applied for the Fulbright, let alone thought about receiving the award. JBU, its mission and the people here have made me who I am,” Hubbard said. “The things I’ve learned here have been transformational and that is what I would like to enable in the students that I teach.

Hubbard is student teaching this spring to fulfill her graduation requirements. She completed her first placement at Siloam Springs High School teaching 9-12 ESL and is currently teaching 9th grade English at Southwest Junior High in Springdale.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, 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. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.