Senior nutrition major Ericka Young was named a Fulbright Scholar and awarded an English teaching assistant award. Beginning in September, Young will spend 10 months in the Czech Republic serving as an assistant teacher in an English class at a secondary school.
The Fulbright Program is the largest U.S. international exchange program offering research, study, and teaching opportunities to recent college graduates, master’s and doctoral candidates, and young professionals. It was established by Congress in 1946 to foster bilateral relationships between the U.S. and other countries in order to set joint priorities and shape the program to meet shared needs.
Young, who has traveled to Cuba, China, and Taiwan, among other places, said she chose the Czech Republic for several reasons. “I wanted to be a part of the Fulbright program because I think the opportunity to build mutual understanding between different nations, particularly considering the current global climate, is very valuable,” she said. “Reading a little bit about the history of the Czech Republic in high school, as well as my love of several Czech composers, gave me an interest in learning more about the Czech culture and people. I also wanted to apply to a country in a part of the world where I had never been before.”
While at CWRU, Young has participated in the Case/University Circle Symphony Orchestra, Culinary Club, Judo Club, Taiwanese American Student Association, Food Recovery Network, and Student Dietetic Association. She also volunteered at University Hospitals and the Cleveland Animal Protective League. She is proficient in Chinese and Spanish and plans to study Czech prior to the start of her assistantship.
“When trying to communicate around a language barrier, I try to be friendly and willing to make mistakes,” she said in regards to her approach to studying language. “Usually other people are understanding and helpful if you approach them with a good attitude. It is also amazing how much can be communicated despite a language barrier if you can get past the fear of making mistakes or sounding stupid.”
In his recommendation for Young, Dr. Danny Manor, associate professor of nutrition, praised her communication skills and ability to adapt easily. “An essential part of laboratory research is the ability to adapt protocols due to unexpected results. Ericka has done a fabulous job at that, being thoughtful, creative, and great at improvisation. She is very special in that respect and a shoulder above her peers,” Manor wrote.
After she completes the Fulbright Program, Young plans to attend graduate school and would eventually like to work in healthcare or health education.
Students interested in applying for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program or other national fellowship and scholarship awards should review such opportunities posted by the Office of Undergraduate Studies and be in touch with Dean Amanda McCarthy, the undergraduate fellowship and scholarship advisor. Dean McCarthy is available to work with interested applicants on developing their credentials and applications, provide campus endorsement support as applicable, and hosts information session and workshops throughout the academic year in order to assist students in fellowship/scholarship endeavors.