W&L’s Finn Connor ’23 Selected for Fulbright to Germany Connor has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to teach English in Germany.
Washington and Lee University senior Finn Connor ’23 has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to teach English in Germany. At W&L, Connor is a cognitive and behavioral science and theater double major with a minor in poverty and human capability studies and will be graduating with a certificate in international immersion. Connor is a native of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Pennsbury High School.
The ETA program in Germany is designed to strengthen educational and cultural relationships between the United States and Germany. English Teaching Assistants support classroom learning at all levels and are encouraged to engage with their host communities. Connor has been placed in Nordrhein-Westfalen, and as a supplemental part of the program, he will also be working at a German refugee aid organization, which directly supports his plans to pursue a career as an international human rights attorney.
“I am thrilled by this opportunity. In my professional career, I hope to develop international solutions to complex geopolitical matters and facilitate international cooperation on issues such as refugee protections,” Connor said. “Serving as an international human rights attorney would require excellent cross-cultural communication skills and deep international connections, both of which I hope to cultivate during my year on this Fulbright grant.”
At W&L, Connor enjoys acting in university theater productions, and his commitment to his performances demonstrates his empathetic nature and has made him an audience favorite.
“Finn has never shied away from a challenge, nor has he ever given anything less than a full-blown effort, and he elicits empathy with every performance,” said Jemma Levy, W&L associate professor of theater, dance, and film studies. “I believe this engagement is a reflection of Finn’s innate openness: he encourages audiences to see themselves in his characters because he brings his entire self — his full humanity — to his roles. This is what will make him such a terrific Fulbright scholar: his ability to recognize commonalities between himself and others, and to teach others to see them, too.”
Connor’s legacy at W&L will be one of community-building and connection, and Julie Woodzicka, professor of cognitive and behavioral science, describes his enthusiasm as contagious.
“Finn has made his classroom communities more inclusive, and I can’t wait to hear about the ways in which he positively impacts those around him when he is abroad,” Woodzicka said.
On campus, Connor serves as the president of the Queer Liberation Alliance, the organization chair of the Blue Ridge Mile Clinic, and the president of Omicron Delta Kappa. He is a peer counselor and active in the Outing Club, and he is one of the student leaders of the annual Appalachian Adventure pre-orientation trip.
“I have never met a student with more energy, passion and resilience to always achieve,” said Jake Reeves, W&L assistant director of inclusion and engagement for LGBTQ+ support. “In all my interactions with Finn, he never shied away from sharing his interests and goals and how he was pouring himself into making them real. He has been a student leader for so many campus initiatives; he doesn’t see ‘no’ as a roadblock, but just as a detour, and I admire him for that. I am so excited to see him earn this award and can’t wait to see what he can do with it.”
Connor was also offered a United States Teaching Assistantship through Fulbright Austria, but he has decided to pursue the ETA in Germany. With the Fulbright award, Connor will depart in September 2023 for his 10-month program. Upon completion of the program, Connor plans to attend law school and pursue a public interest legal career.
The Fulbright Program was established more than 75 years ago to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Fulbright is the world’s largest and most diverse international educational exchange program. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Washington and Lee University is proud to be included on the list of U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most 2022-2023 Fulbright U.S. Students for the fifth consecutive year.
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