UNCW Honors Student to Teach in Spain with Aid of Fulbright

Friday, April 20, 2018

Jessica Elaine Aiken '18 will graduate from UNCW next month but plans to return in the fall of 2019 to pursue her master’s in psychology. In between degrees, she will travel to Spain to teach English as part of a Fulbright Award.

Future career plans for the psychology and Spanish major and Stedman, NC native include becoming a board-certified behavior analyst and working with Spanish-speaking children with disabilities.

“I heard about the Fulbright program through the Honors College and I hope that my experience working in Spanish classrooms will better prepare me to work with children, allow me to make international connections in my field and give me a new cultural perspective on education,” Aiken said.

Initially “overwhelmed” at the news of her acceptance, she is grateful to her Fulbright advisor, associate professor of religion Theodore Burgh, and UNCW faculty members Erica Noles, Brian Chandler and Kimi Hemingway for their support through the nine-month application process.

Aiken leaves for Spain in mid-September. In addition to teaching English, she plans to coordinate a monthly event where those with disabilities can convene, play games and access important community resources.

“I was inspired by a program I’ve volunteered with called The Gathering Place, which is hosted each month by Wesley Memorial Methodist Church in Wilmington,” she said. “I think there is a huge need for education about and resources for people with disabilities in all communities, and I can’t wait to help organize this program in my pueblo.”

In addition to being an Honors student, Aiken is a member of the Spanish Honors Society Sigma Delta Pi and the Psychology Honors Society Psi Chi.

The Fulbright Program is a highly competitive, merit-based grant for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists. The U.S. Student Program is designed to give recent graduates and master’s and doctoral candidates opportunities for personal development and international experiences.

UNCW was named a top producer of Fulbright U.S. Scholars for the 2017-18 academic year among master’s institutions. Preparing students for post-graduation success and increasing post-graduation career placement are priorities as outlined in UNCW’s Strategic Plan

-- Caroline Cropp