Southwestern University was well represented in the 2024–2025 Fulbright U.S. Student Program selections. Education major Leora Ammerman ’24 and political science graduate Sierra Rupp ’23 both earned spots in the English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Program in Spain. Spanish and Latin American and Border Studies double major Ella Stewart ’24 has also been recognized as an alternate for the Program.

Ammerman and Rupp will travel to Spain this fall to support teaching at the early childhood, elementary, middle school, high school, vocational, and/or university level. Fulbright Students are responsible for assistant-teaching, in English, subjects such as social studies, science and technology, art, physical education, and English language.

During the application process, Ammerman was mentored by Professor of Education Michael Kamen, Visiting Instructor of Education Debbie Shepherd, and Professor of Spanish Katy Ross, while Rupp’s faculty champions included Professor of Political Science Eric Selbin, Associate Professor of German Erika Berroth, and Ross. Rupp also earned one of the U.S. State Department’s prestigious Critical Language Scholarships to study Russian this summer in Kyrgyzstan prior to her Fulbright year.

Stewart has been recognized as an alternate for the Fulbright ETA to Spain. She was supported by Associate Professor of Spanish María de los Ángeles Rodriguez Cadena, Associate Professor of Spanish Abby Dings, Assistant Professor of Education Raquel Sáenz Ortiz, and Ross. While there is no guarantee that alternates will advance further in the competition, it is possible, and occurred for a Southwestern alternate in 2022–2023.

Ammerman and Rupp follow 20 other Southwestern students or alumni in the University’s history to have earned selection to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. These previous winners demonstrate that Pirates are competitive applicants and even serve as resources for new applicants. For example, alumna Emma Astad ’21, a participant in the Fulbright ETA to Spain in 2022–2023, helped advise and prepare this year’s candidates during the application process.

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, 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 more than 140 countries worldwide.