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New Mexico State University anthropology graduate student Valerie Simone received the prestigious Fulbright grant for a 2017 English Teaching Assistantship in Bosnia and Herzegovina. (Photo courtesy of Valerie Simone) SEP17

NMSU Graduate Student Receives Prestigious Fulbright to Teach in Sarajevo

As a child, Valerie Simone traveled extensively throughout the United States. Soon, the New Mexico State University anthropology graduate student will venture into another continent.

Simone has been selected to receive the prestigious Fulbright Scholar grant for a 2017 English Teaching Assistantship in Sarajevo, which is the capital of the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

An El Paso native, Simone chose this location because of the similarities between Sarajevo and the El Paso-Juarez area.

“Both locations have a history of war and violence that overshadows some of the really amazing things about these areas,” Simone said. “I am also very much interested in borders and how identity is developed when a person straddles multiple cultural contexts and languages. The Fulbright is an amazing opportunity.”

Simone will depart for Sarajevo Sept. 21 and will be there for 10 months.

Of the 5,000 students who applied for this grant, Simone was among the 1,200 who were selected. She applied for the Fulbright with an interest in sharing American culture and English as a foreign language. She is proposing a visual approach to teaching English as a foreign language, which will entail placing cameras in the hands of her students.

Her students will take photos and describe the photos in English. She plans to include a number of other learning experiences as part of her curriculum.

“I’ve known Valerie since she was enrolled in her first introductory anthropology class, and I’ve seen her progress all the way through her graduate degree,” said NMSU Honors College Dean Miriam Chaiken. “From the outset, she demonstrated a great curiosity and had real insights into others around her, and she has always been a superb writer. When she combined her expertise in photography with her anthropological skills, she created really original research and will now be using those same talents in the work she will do for her Fulbright project in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We are very proud of her.”

Established in 1946, the Fulbright Scholar Program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. It also promotes cross-cultural interaction and mutual understanding on a person-to-person basis in an atmosphere of openness, academic integrity and intellectual freedom.

Part of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs within the United States Department of State, the program awards approximately 1,600 grants to students in the U.S. annually. The program operates in over 155 countries.

The Honors College plans to host several Fulbright workshops this year to provide information about the exciting opportunities offered by a Fulbright fellowship. Students interested in applying for a Fulbright grant or other Honors College scholarships are encouraged to attend these workshops. For more information, contact Tim Ketelaar at ketelaar@nmsu.edu or 575-405-3729.

More information about scholarships and grants offered by the Honors College may be found online.

Author: Kristie Garcia -NMSU

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