The Columns

Jamie Ferrell ’08 Awarded Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to Chile

— by on September 18th, 2008

Washington and Lee ’08 graduate Jamie Ferrell has recently been awarded the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Chile. Ferrell was named the alternate last May but was told of her award in August.

Ferrell is formerly of Flint, Texas, and has been living and working in northern Virginia since graduation.

The Fulbright teaching assistantship program places students in a host country to teach English and complete research projects. The host country provides the student with international travel expenses, a living stipend and in some cases, tuition assistance.

“Jamie was as diligent and determined an applicant as I have seen in my years as a fellowships advisor,” said George Bent, professor of art and Fulbright liaison. “She wrote a terrific proposal, knew exactly what she wanted to do, and had the full support of both her faculty and those on the committee who evaluated her work. The fact that she remained ever hopeful as she waited to hear back from her host country speaks volumes for her tenacity and her deep desire to live and work abroad this year.”

Ferrell, whose award begins March 16, 2009, and will run through Jan. 15, 2010, will be working at the University of Conception in Conception, Chile, as an English teaching assistant. She also will be taking classes and conducting her Fulbright research project which consists of investigating the difference in women’s rights issues, especially domestic violence, in Chile as compared to the United States while recognizing that Chile currently has a woman president.

Ferrell feels that the Fulbright “allows me to serve as sort of a U.S. cultural ambassador to Chile while also being able to immerse myself in Chilean life and culture. This opportunity will serve me well in my future career – I just found out that I passed my foreign service exam, so I plan to enter the Foreign Service as a public diplomacy officer with the U.S. State Department after I get back from Chile.”

“Jamie possesses every quality that a good Fulbrighter ought to have,” Bent said. “Bright, engaging, curious, mature, and self-motivated, her brains and drive will take her places most of us can only imagine. For Jamie, this is only the beginning.”

“I had the good fortune of working with Jamie through the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) volunteer organization for four years,” said Ellen Mayock, professor of Romance languages. She went on to say, “Jamie was one of our most experienced English teachers and was well known among our clients in the Latino community. In her senior year, Jamie served as one of the co-chairs of ESOL’s English Education Committee for which she managed teaching assignments, carried out teacher training and continued to teach English. Earning the Fulbright is a very well-deserved and appropriate next step.”

While at W&L, in addition to being an officer and member of ESOL, Ferrell was in the Latin American studies program, a Bonner Leader, an executive officer and member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. She also was a trip coordinator for the two Volunteer Venture Leading Edge pre-orientation trips for first-years and also volunteered at Project Horizon.

Ferrell said of her surprise call from the Fulbright program in August, “I accepted the grant immediately when the assistant director of the Fulbright U.S. Student Programs called. It just goes to show that one should never lose hope, because you never know what is going to happen.”