May 13, 2019
Lauren Anderson ’19 is awarded a Fulbright Award. She will spend the 2019-2020 school year teaching in Mexico.
Lauren Anderson’s plans for next fall changed abruptly in late April. That’s when Anderson, who graduated in May 2019 with a double major in Spanish and Economics, received word that she’d been awarded an English Teaching Assistant Fulbright Award to Mexico.
The notice of the award not only broke her concentration that day—Anderson was studying for an econ test at the time—it also changed her plans for the 2019-2020 school year, since she’d prepared to join Teach for America at a school in Cleveland, Ohio.
But Anderson couldn’t be more excited about the shifting plans. She’s also thankful that Teach for America is allowing her to defer her acceptance. “I've always wanted to learn another language," she said. “I’m really excited to take advantage of this opportunity to learn from people who speak a different language than me.”
Anderson, who studied Spanish all four years in high school, said that her desire to study Spanish continued and was deepened through her classes and extracurricular activities at the College. At Wheaton, she got involved with the Honduras Project, a trip where students partner with a Honduran community to install a gravity-fed water system.
Wheaton College Assistant Professor of Economics Dr. Enoch Hill was “deeply impressed” by Anderson’s work on this project, saying: “She viewed herself as partnering with and learning from the Hondurans who she interacted with. She was humble and willing to leverage the particular advantages she had, such as access to resources and other students, while submitting to the recommendations of the Hondurans in areas she had less knowledge.”
Thanks to “really great Spanish professors” like Associate Professor of Spanish Dr. Nestor Ivan Quiroa, Anderson said she was able to broaden her understanding of the importance of language learning.
“Lauren is an excellent representative of the Fulbright program, encapsulating someone who enthusiastically and energetically is ready to step into other realities and contribute to their transformation,” Quiroa said. “Lauren’s unique gift for listening, a resolute desire to interact cross-culturally, and to enter in dialogue with others in a collaborative learning process, will be a great asset to this program. I cannot be prouder than to have had Lauren as a student—her classroom learning, life experience abroad, and bright future make teaching a rewarding endeavor.”
Anderson will spend the 2019-2020 school year in Mexico, teaching English about 20 hours a week and spending the remaining hours of the workweek on a special project. Although some of the details won’t be worked out until June, Anderson already knows that she is looking forward to learning and growing as a Spanish speaker and as a teacher.
The Fulbright Program' s mission is “to increase mutual understanding and support friendly and peaceful relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” Started in 1946, the United States Department of State initiative offers research, study and teaching opportunities to students and scholars in more than 155 countries worldwide.
“I’m just really looking forward to learning a ton from everyone I meet there, and especially the students and teachers that I’m going to be interacting with,” Anderson said. “Hopefully the Fulbright will help me improve my teaching abilities throughout the time I am there.”—Emily Bratcher