Three recent Palm Beach Atlantic grads have won highly-competitive Fulbright awards to teach English overseas. Isabella Lindh ’18 will serve in Bulgaria, Sarah Selden ’19 in Spain and Chanel Nassir ’20 in Burma.
“The Fulbright is one of the most prestigious awards an American undergraduate or recent graduate can win,” said Dr. Carl Miller, director of PBA’s Prestigious National Scholarship Program. “The goal for the Fulbright program is to send the best recent graduates of American institutions abroad for a program of cultural ambassadorship and intellectual exchange and service work.”
Lindh, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, recently finished her second year teaching English at Palm Springs Community Middle School. “She was selected, in part, because she has such a strong background working with students for whom English is not their first language,” Miller said.
Selden, from Littleton, Colorado, taught 10th graders at Palm Beach Gardens High School in the spring. “She is as decorated as any person who has graduated from our English Department,” said Miller. Selden turned down offers to do graduate work at Oxford, Cambridge and Vanderbilt in order to accept her Fulbright appointment.
While Lindh and Selden graduated with English degrees, Nassir majored in international business. She is from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and was captain of PBA’s women’s lacrosse team in its first year with NCAA status. “Her leadership role in that emergent program I’m sure was a key factor” in her winning the Fulbright, said Miller, for Nassir will be in the first group of Fulbright students appointed to Burma.
Lindh, Selden and Nassir will each begin their Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in January, their appointments delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also in January, Allison Rice ’19 will return to Bulgaria, having been selected for a renewal of her Fulbright teaching position there. She won her ETA last year, but her term was cut short because of the pandemic.
“Not only are these individuals high-achieving academically and service-minded,” said Miller, “but they are just exceptionally wonderful representatives of our institution and of our country.”
The Fulbright Program sprang from a congressional bill introduced by Sen. J. William Fulbright at the end of World War II. Under the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, the Fulbright students serve as ambassadors of their nation.
Last year, in addition to Rice, James Davisson ’19 won a Fulbright ETA. He served in South Korea, and though his appointment also was cut short because of COVID-19 he hopes to return there next year.
PBA’s first Fulbright Award came in 2018, when senior English major Esther Hagan won an ETA and served in Taiwan. She applied for the award with the help of the newly formed committee headed by Miller and overseen by Dr. Robert Lloyd, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.
Also serving on the committee this year were Dr. Elizabeth Stice, associate professor of history, and Dr. Donald McCulloch, associate professor of psychology. The committee enlists the help of other faculty and staff members to shepherd students through the Fulbright application process.
“Certainly the students deserve most of the credit,” said Miller, “but the University as a whole has been instrumental in making this happen.”