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Fulbright scholars as professors give students an educational edge

Tino Sonora (inset) will spend time this summer in Croatia as a Fulbright Scholar.

Tino Sonora (inset) will spend time next year in Croatia as a Fulbright Scholar.

Fort Lewis College Associate Professor of Economics Robert Sonora will be spending part of 2013 working in Croatia thanks to the Fulbright International Exchange Program. It’s a win-win-win for the people of Croatia, Sonora, and for the future FLC students that find themselves in one of Sonora’s future classes.

To earn a Fulbright scholarship is one of the highest academic honors that a faculty member or student can achieve. Only the best of the best are chosen. The experiences and knowledge gained by living and working beyond the borders of the United States through the program can be life-changing, and not just for the Fulbright participants themselves.

Fort Lewis College boasts nine Fulbright scholars among its faculty. These faculty members use their extraordinary experiences for the betterment of their students. This is hugely impactful for a school like FLC where more emphasis is placed on the close working relationships between professors and students than at many other institutions.

“I have been a Fulbright scholar twice -- first as a Ph.D. research scholar; the second as a lecturer,” explains Kathleen Fine-Dare, professor of women’s studies and anthropology. “Both experiences were of inestimable value in not only preparing me for my life's work as a teacher-scholar, but also in maintaining the level of confidence one needs to face the ongoing and always-changing world of teaching today's college students who want to know how one can act as global citizens while ‘locally’ focused on fulfilling B.A./B.S. degree requirements.”

Through the Fulbright program, Fine-Dare studied and taught in Quito, Ecuador, first in 1980 and then again in 2005.

“My experience teaching in a master’s program in Ecuador allowed me to develop several new tools of pedagogy, technology, communication, and empathy,” she says. “I was extremely humbled to deliver lectures, tutor students, grade papers, and write my own papers in Spanish and to learn how much more I had to learn about teaching.”

Founded in 1946 by then-Senator J. William Fulbright, the Fulbright program has helped almost 300,000 participants work and learn in 155 countries. The goal is to increase knowledge and understanding by offering scholars the chance to learn and teach in other countries. The program is managed today by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars.

Rebecca Austin, FLC assistant professor of anthropology, used the Fulbright program to conduct her doctoral fieldwork on Palawan Island in the Philippines in 1997. Like Fine-Dare, she also finds her experiences valuable for her teaching.

“I incorporate stories as well as formal modules from my Fulbright experience into all of my classes,” she says. “There are many aspects of environmental studies and anthropology that are better conveyed with my field experiences than standard texts. Overall, the Fulbright scholarship was one of the most enriching and best experiences of my life.”

Fulbright Scholars currently teaching at Fort Lewis College and the countries they worked in thanks to the Fulbright program:

Dr. Rebecca Austin, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Palawan Island, Philippines

Dr. Chad Colby, Associate Professor of Art (Alternate)

Dr. Kathleen Fine-Dare, Professor of Anthropology
Quito, Ecuador

Dr. Michael Fry, Professor of History

Dr. Paul Herz, Professor of Accounting
Saratov, Russia

Dr. Neil McHugh, Professor of History
Khartoum, Sudan & Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Dr. Ellen Paul, Associate Professor of History
Czech Republic

Dr. Robert Sonora, Associate Professor of Economics
Zagreb, Croatia

Dr. Suzanne Wilhelm, Associate Professor of Business Law


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