Joey Wiley ’16 Receives Fulbright Grant to Malaysia Posted on April 18th, 2016 by


Joey Wiley ’16

Gustavus Adolphus College senior Joey Wiley has been named a winner of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) grant to Malaysia for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Fulbright’s ETA program places recent college graduates and young professionals as English teaching assistants in primary and secondary schools or universities overseas. ETA participants improve foreign students’ English language abilities and knowledge of the United States while increasing the U.S. students’ own language skills and knowledge of the host country.

A native of St. Paul, Minn., Wiley spent a semester in Malaysia as a sophomore through the College’s Semester in Malaysia program. The exposure to the country and its people led him to apply to return after graduation. Wiley recalled a moment during his first trip to Malaysia when, as a struggling Malay learner, he was supported by students who shouted “Malaysia boleh! (Malaysia Can!)” to encourage him. “I hope to show my appreciation by returning to Malaysia to give back to a community that has taught me to open myself to unique cultural experiences through education,” he said.

“Malaysia is a place where people from different ethnic backgrounds, cultures, languages and religions live together and form a peaceful, stable society,” physics professor and Semester in Malaysia program leader Steve Mellema said. “For over a century Malaysia has faced many of the tensions that we see playing out in the headlines today – problems of immigration and citizenship, poverty and wealth, religious tension and misunderstanding, peace and justice.”

“I am incredibly excited to return to Malaysia in a new and even more challenging context than before. Along with this new challenge, I am immensely excited to visit the island of Penang where I last studied to catch up with professors and students that made my experience one I want to live over and over again,” Wiley said.

A political science major, Wiley was supported throughout the Fulbright application process by Mellema, political science professor Alisa Rosenthal, Gustavus fellowships coordinator Amanda Nienow, and the staff of the Center for International and Cultural Education.

Wiley in Malaysia.

Wiley in Malaysia.

“There are many factors that aided me in gaining this fellowship, but most of all was the Gustavus spirit and community,” Wiley explained. “At Gustavus I’ve been challenged to think, act, and learn in new and challenging ways.”

“Joey has the analytical tools to think through his experiences and his observations critically, to put those experiences in a larger world context, and to recognize the deep and complicated connections between the political, economic, religious, and social realms,” Rosenthal said.

Outside of the classroom, Wiley is the principal tubist for the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra and Gustavus Wind Orchestra, a member of the Chapel Brass and tuba/euphonium ensembles, and vice president of the Omega Kappa fraternity. He hopes to use his global experiences and political science studies to inform a future career in government or politics.

“When I met Joey as a first-year student, I was immediately struck by his enthusiasm, his openness, his warmth, and his friendliness,” Rosenthal said, “but I think I’ve been most impressed by his commitment to figuring out who he is and who he wants to be and by his recognition that it takes intention, effort, and reflection to make those two align.”

Wiley is the second Gustavus student to be named a winner of the Fublright ETA grant this year. For more information about the Gustavus Fellowships Office and the support it gives to students, please visit the fellowship website.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program currently awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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