Kara Bischak '12 is DePauw's Fourth Fulbright Award Recipient This Spring
April 27, 2012
Kara L. Bischak, a senior at DePauw University, will spend the upcoming academic year teaching English in India as a recipient of an English Teaching Assistant grant through the 2012-13 Fulbright U.S. Student Program competition.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and established in 1946, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program competition aims to increase mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchange while serving as a catalyst for long-term leadership development.
Bischak becomes the fourth DePauw senior to receive a Fulbright award this spring. Sam Holley-Kline will conduct anthropological field research in Mexico in a project, "Ancient Pyramids, Modern Populations: Totonac Perspectives on El Tajín." Stewart E. Jones will spend the 2012-13 academic year teaching English in Malaysia and Case M. Naziger will teach English to students in South Korea as a result of being awarded English Teaching Assistant grants.
In her Fulbright application, Bischak wrote that her passion for teaching abroad was stoked during a semester she spent in India, where she volunteered three hours a week at Sshristi school teaching English. She explained that "as an avid reader, English major, and editor of two campus magazines, I have a fascination for the written word that I hope to share with my students through creative, interactive projects. I’m particularly excited to introduce a new group of students to a pen pal project with U.S. students I initiated at Sshristi. This project allows students to engage with peers from different cultures, experience situations where classroom learning is relevant to life, and inspires them to be proactive about learning new vocabulary in order to express complex ideas."
Bischak's letter notes, "The analytical skills I developed at DePauw prepared me to take international studies classes at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), a top-tier graduate school. The education I received at JNU was personally revolutionary; professors treated me as a colleague, and I chose and controlled my own research independently. The students and professors were passionate, all across disciplines and in changing the world. Every building at JNU was covered in murals protesting everything from capitalism to JNU’s own policies."
An English (literature) and political science double major at DePauw, where she is a Rector Scholar and member of Phi Beta Kappa, Bischak states, "I want to teach English in India specifically because of the country’s multiplicity. Knowledge of another language is a competitive advantage anywhere in the world. This advantage is magnified a hundred times in India, where thousands of dialects and a legacy of British colonialism make English the vehicle of communication outside one’s community. Further, English is integral for access to higher education and to get many jobs. Thus, India is one of the most important, and thus to me one of the most compelling, places to teach English."
Her Fulbright plans include a research project. "In 1968, in order to address the need for a common language in multilingual India, the national government implemented the Three Language Formula, where students study English, Hindi, and a local language," Bischak wrote. "Through discourse about education and policy in the media, and discourse surrounding legislative and judicial decisions after 1968, I will examine how my assigned state, with a politicized lingual agenda of its own, reacts to and transforms the Three Language Formula.
She concluded, "This research project, in addition to nine months of teaching in India, will supplement my study of International Development Policy in graduate school by providing me with crucial context for abstract theories and research experience. Further, I hope to synthesize my English Teaching Assistantship and studies when pursuing my goal to work with an international NGO [non-governmental organization]."
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program competition is the largest American international exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide. It currently awards approximately 1,600 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in approximately 130 countries worldwide.
Fulbright full grants generally provide funding for round-trip travel, maintenance for one academic year, health and accident insurance and full or partial tuition.
Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided approximately 310,000 participants, chosen for their leadership potential, with the opportunity to observe each others' political, economic and cultural institutions, exchange ideas, and embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world's inhabitants. Learn more by clicking here.
DePauw University is listed among the "Top Producers of Fulbright Awards for U.S. Students, 2011-12" in the Chronicle of Higher Education. DePauw is the only bachelor's institution in the state of Indiana to appear on this year's list and was also cited as one of the USA's top producers of Fulbright Fellows in the publication's 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006 listings.
DePauw students and alumni who are interested in applying for Fulbright Awards may contact David N. Gellman, associate professor of history, or Marion "Marnie" McInnes, professor of English and women's studies and director of nationally competitive scholarships.Back