The Columns

Anna Paden Carson Awarded Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to Colombia

— by on April 1st, 2016

Washington and Lee University senior Anna Paden Carson of Roanoke, Virginia, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to Colombia.

The ETA will give Carson the opportunity to teach English at a public college or university in Colombia and “then when I’m not teaching, I’ll be expected to find an internship or steady volunteer position in a field that interests me and can hopefully help to further my future in human rights/immigration,” Carson said.

“Whether that takes the form of an organization that helps impoverished families, abused or mistreated women, underprivileged children or immigrants fleeing persecution. I’ll have to wait to see.”

She also said that “culturally, I am drawn to all things Colombian, and I plan to integrate myself there by becoming a regular at a local café and playing in whatever fútbol game will have me.”

Carson worked with nonprofit organizations that provided legal assistance to undocumented immigrant women who were victims of domestic violence as a legal advocate for Tapestri in Atlanta and with the detained immigrant population as a legal intern for Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) in Washington. She noticed that nearly all of her clients were Latinos. This was one of the reasons she chose Colombia for her ETA.

“I’m thrilled to hear that Anna Paden Carson will be teaching English as a Fulbright Scholar this coming year in Colombia,” said Claudia Cubas, Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition. “Anna Paden has the maturity and tenacity to get things done. She was a great intern during this past summer at CAIR Coalition that we went ahead and re-hired her for our Virginia Justice Program to conduct research to support an impact litigation project in connection with the Immigrant Defense Project.”

“Anna Paden will be an excellent representative for the United States, bringing a superb intellect fueled both by her passion for learning and her enthusiasm, and a desire to work with others,” said David Novack, W&L professor of sociology. “The combination of her Spanish major, Poverty minor and courses in the social sciences has clearly provided her with important language skills and an appreciation of the culture of Colombia.

“Anna Paden’s work to ensure legal representation and basic human rights to minorities and marginalized communities such as detained immigrants, and refugee victims of domestic violence in places like Georgia, the U.S. or the Dominican Republic demonstrates a young person conscientiously committed to education as a transformative experience,” said Antonio Reyes, assistant professor of Spanish.”

She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, First-Year Orientation Committee and Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. She received the Barritt and Williams Jr. Prize in Spanish and a Johnson Opportunity Grant for advocacy efforts in Washington.

Carson was on the Speakers Committee of W&L’s 2016 Mock Convention and was named W&L’s Emerging Leader of the Year. She also received the Kendrick Memorial Outdoor Grant for educational travel to the Dominican Republic.

She is a Spanish translator with the W&L School of Law’s Immigration Clinic, and was a teacher’s assistant and tutor for English for Speakers of Other Languages and is the lead researcher with CAIR coalition.

“I could not be more excited to go to Colombia next year on the Fulbright Grant,” Carson said. “I have no doubt my year spent abroad will help to both further my Spanish abilities and give me a greater understanding and appreciation of the very population I hope to devote my life to in immigration and human rights law. This grant would never have been possible without the continued support of my family, my friends and the W&L faculty.”