Feature Stories Campus Events All Stories

W&L’s Julia Poppenberg ’19 Awarded Fulbright Grant to Argentina Poppenberg has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Argentina starting in March 2022.

Julia-Poppenberg-19-334x350 W&L’s Julia Poppenberg ’19 Awarded Fulbright Grant to ArgentinaJulia Poppenberg ’19 has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to Argentina.

Washington and Lee University graduate Julia Poppenberg ’19 has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to Argentina. At W&L, Poppenberg majored in accounting and business administration, as well as Spanish.

Starting in March 2022, the Fulbright grant will allow Poppenberg to live and work in Argentina until November 2022. She plans to teach English and accounting to university-level students. She also hopes to travel to Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile and Colombia during the program.

After finishing Spring Term in May 2019, Poppenberg studied in Madrid, Spain, at La Universidad de Antonio de Nebrija. Poppenberg officially graduated from W&L in October 2019.

“That semester abroad allowed me to complete the needed classes for the Spanish major, as well as obtain the 150-credit requirement to sit for the CPA exam without doing an additional year of school,” she said.

In August 2019, she returned to the U.S. and moved to Washington, D.C., where she currently lives and works for PricewaterhouseCoopers as a financial services assurance associate.

Poppenberg also applied for a Fulbright grant her senior year at W&L but was not accepted in 2019.

“Julia embodies the adage ‘if at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again,’” said Matthew Loar, director of fellowships at W&L. “She applied for a Fulbright in her senior year but wasn’t selected for the award at that time. Two years later, she has only become a stronger candidate, and I’m so pleased that the Fulbright selection committees saw that in her application materials and recognized what an asset she will be to their program.”

As a W&L student, Poppenberg was involved in many campus organizations. She served as a Beta Alpha Psi Accounting Honor Society member, a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program executive member, a mental health editor and writer for W&L’s “Diverge,” and an English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) family chair, translations chair and tutor. She also participated in Fancy Dress as the decorations chair and personnel chair, as a Kappa Alpha Theta data officer and chief recruitment officer, and as a W&L Dining Services student manager.

Poppenberg credits her time at W&L for preparing her for the upcoming Fulbright experience.

“Washington and Lee provided me with outstanding professors who fostered my Spanish language ability, as well as my love for learning about various Hispanic cultures and histories,” she said. “The university-established organizations like ESOL taught me how to engage with my surrounding community in my nonnative language, and W&L allowed me to spend my last semester in Madrid because Spanish Professor Matthew Bailey knew how valuable that experience would be for me. These opportunities made a profound impact on me and have equipped me to spend a Fulbright year in Argentina.”

While she has almost a year to prepare for the program, Poppenberg has already mapped out some of her goals for the experience.

“After having worked professionally for three years, it will be an opportunity to take a step back from corporate finance and move at a slower pace,” she said. “This opportunity will allow me to focus on some of the things I enjoy most, like traveling, speaking Spanish, teaching, embracing another culture and community, and training for another marathon. I am looking forward to letting my passions guide me to what I would like to pursue next.”