Gustavus Adolphus College senior Ally Voss ’13 has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Grant to Spain for 2013. 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.
Voss is no stranger to receiving prestigious scholarships as she was awarded a Critical Language Scholarship in the Spring of 2012 to study the language of Urdu in India during the summer of 2012. Now she will head to Spain for nine and a half months to serve as an English Teaching Assistant within a Spanish school.
“In addition to working directly with students in the classroom, I will also likely serve as a guide in conversation groups and may give talks regarding American culture in schools and community civic organizations,” Voss said. “Part of my assignment will be to engage with the community in a project of my choice. I have proposed starting a school or community athletic club such as a running club, or finding other ways to work with recent immigrants to Spain.”
Voss is a native of Wausau, Wis., who plans to graduate this spring with a double major in Spanish and sociology and anthropology. She has taken advantage of the liberal arts experience at Gustavus by being a member of the women’s track and field team as a pole vaulter, a member of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, and by volunteering her time through the Big Partner Little Partner program, which is based out of the College’s Center for Servant Leadership.
Voss has also enjoyed her time in the classroom during her four years at Gustavus and says there are many faculty members who have been imperative in her growth.
“Professor Richard Leitch instilled in me early on that I shouldn’t be afraid to try for everything regardless of the possibility of rejection. Professor Maria Kalbermatten has been a kind motivator for me throughout my difficulties with the Spanish language and pushed me to be extremely conscientious in all of my courses,” Voss said. “Professor Deane Curtin’s January Term class in India and his course on the Ethics of Development challenged me to think about the world and my effects on it in a new way.”
Kalbermatten is convinced that Voss will excel as an educator in Spain during her Fulbright experience.
“I have come to see Ally as a bright, personable, energetic and mature person with a concrete, ongoing, well-rooted interest in teaching,” Kalbermatten said. “In my Language Teaching Methodology course, I observed her teaching complete lesson plans and activities that she designed. She created a comfortable and non-threatening environment in the classroom, demonstrated a command of the language and the subject matter, and interacted with students and facilitated their participations in a manner consistent with an experienced teacher. It is clear to me that Ally is and will continue to be devoted to becoming the best kind of educator.”
Voss is a great example of a student who is reaping the benefits of a combination of her own hard work and the support network that is available to Gustavus students.
“Gustavus is a fantastic institution that prepares its students well for future opportunities so you have the background; you just need to develop yourself as a unique, driven student and take the risk to apply for things like a Fulbright grant,” she said. “I absolutely believe that the Fellowships Office and Professor Alisa Rosenthal were essential to my receiving a Fulbright. In writing and revising personal statements and statements of purpose under the direction of Professor Rosenthal, I was forced to deeply question who I am, what makes me unique, what direction I want my life to take, and how I will ultimately get there.”
Voss’ short term future includes graduation in June and the chance to look forward to a unique experience in Spain.
“One of the reasons that I am most excited about the opportunity to live and work in Spain is that I will advance my understanding of the Spanish language and culture significantly,” Voss said. “This will ultimately help me in my endeavors as a bilingual educator for Teach for America upon my return.”
The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. 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. 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 awards approximately 7,500 new grants annually and currently operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.
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