Gustavus Adolphus College senior Joey Taylor ’13 has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Grant to Russia 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.
Taylor, a native of Washington, Ill., is a Russian Studies and Political Science double major who has served as a Russian tutor and is also active in several student organizations including Russian Club, Swing Club, and the International Cultures Club.
His upcoming journey to Russia will not be his first time there as he studied abroad in the country during his junior year.
“I look forward to sharing with my students what America means to me and what it means for others as well. I want to help them know the U.S. better and also want to create an atmosphere of cultural exchange where I share American culture and in return, I delve into Russian culture and immerse myself in their traditions,” Taylor said. “I’m excited for all of this and to be in Russia again to renew the connection I built studying abroad there last year.”
Along with his study abroad experience and extra-curricular activities, Taylor says that several faculty members have greatly influenced him during his four years at Gustavus.
“Denis Crnkovic is by far the person I would thank most. I thank him for showing me what a liberal arts education can do for a person as well as what responsibility we have as lifetime learners to never stop questioning and to never cease our quest for knowledge,” Taylor said. “Deborah Goodwin has been great in showing me the beauty of life and teaching as well as the fun side of being a scholar. She never stops encouraging us.”
Taylor’s mentors see a bright future ahead for the senior. “Joey doesn’t hesitate to pursue challenging coursework; he has genuine passion for learning. He seized every opportunity Gustavus provided him to explore his special interest in Russia and Russian politics and culture. More importantly, he is a dedicated and hardworking student with a golden heart,” Assistant Professor of Political Science Asli Ilgit said. “Joey has absolutely infectious enthusiasm for what he does,” Crnkovic said. “He is also hard-working, faithful, and delightfully gregarious, in addition to very, very talented when it comes to learning languages.”
Taylor says that applying for the Fulbright award with assistance from the Gustavus Fellowships Office and political science professor Alisa Rosenthal was a rewarding experience that helped him plan out his future career path.
“I would tell any Gustavus student to go to professor Rosenthal and talk to her about the possibilities. The experience itself of applying for the Fulbright was enriching. I learned how to answer the question “Why Russia?” I also learned what I want for my future. I grew confident about expressing these feelings and I became a better writer,” Taylor said. “I don’t plan on leaving Russia after the Fulbright – I plan to move there for an extended period of time. I want to continue working as an English teacher while exploring other options such as translating/interpreting and working with foreign exchange students. We’ll see what happens!”
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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