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2016-05-12 12:46:12 - General
Coe College alumna Jaclyn Duden has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship grant. The Fulbright award will allow Duden to teach in Turkey during the 2016-17 academic year.
Duden graduated from Coe in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, double majoring in creative writing and Asian studies. While at Coe, she worked as a Writing Center consultant as well as a writing fellow. Duden was also involved editing and reading publications produced on Coe's campus. Off campus, she volunteered at the Catherine McAuley Center, assisting immigrants in the Cedar Rapids area with learning to speak English, and worked as a direct support professional for intellectually disabled adults.
"I applied for a Fulbright because I have a passion for understanding other cultures, and other people," said Duden. "The Fulbright program opens the opportunity for other cultures to come together, and I feel it is an honor to be a Fulbright grantee."
Duden selected Turkey because she is captivated by the blend of cultures present in the country. She received guidance on her application from Coe Professor Ann Struthers, who serves as the college's Fulbright Program advisor.
"I'm fascinated by the location of Turkey and how that has or has not had an effect on culture there," said Duden. "To get to know a country that has stood on its own between two worlds is an amazing opportunity."
While in Turkey, Duden will be teaching English at a developing university, as well as learning Turkish herself. After Turkey, she plans to attend graduate school for a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing, and continue her work in the field of assisting intellectually disabled adults.
"I think teaching is an undeniable opportunity to empower people and make a positive impact in their lives," said Duden. "After graduation, I intend to continue inspiring people to be the best they can be and to be a successful writer."
During the summer of 2014, Duden traveled to Amapá, Brazil, on a fellowship to teach English to high school-aged students.
"The best thing about teaching is watching my students grow and believe in themselves as they reach their goals. I feel blessed to know I was a part of making them feel that way," said Duden. "My students are not the only ones who learn while I teach. They challenge me to be better as well, and they teach me new ways to see the world through sharing their own experiences."
Duden says her teaching experience in Brazil will prove useful when she serves in Turkey during the next school year.
"I look forward to being a part of the mission of Fulbright, to shorten the gap of understanding between cultures and bring people together," said Duden. "To force myself to adapt to other cultures and languages is to reach a deep empathy for those who come to know the challenges of navigating unfamiliar territory, be it in another country or an unexpected life change."
Duden believes her Coe experience provided valuable preparation for her Fulbright experience and her future.
"Coe prepared me for this by giving me the unique opportunity to help my peers in the Writing Center and challenging me at every corner to strive for my best, as well as the endless chances there to meet new people and try new things" said Duden. "The faculty at Coe gets to know each student and learn what each of their individual talents has to offer. I think because of that, they saw my potential to receive the Fulbright and they pushed me to try for it. I wouldn’t have reached to take advantage of my own potential if not for them."
A graduate of Ames High School in Ames, Iowa, Jaclyn is the daughter of Scott and Terri Duden.
Established in 1946 and sponsored by the United States Department of State, the Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between Americans and the peoples of other countries, through the exchange of persons, knowledge and skills. The Fulbright Program is the largest international exchange program, providing funding for students, scholars and professionals to undertake graduate study, advanced research and teaching. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program sends approximately 1,500 students per year to more than 140 countries.
Coe College offers superb academics and exciting co-curricular activities in a thriving urban setting that promotes student growth and success. Established in 1851, Coe has a national reputation for academic excellence enhanced by a student-centered, highly supportive campus environment. Coe's vibrant Cedar Rapids location provides an abundance of internships for students and career opportunities for graduates.