Allison Bailey awarded prestigious Fulbright grant

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Secretary of the College
(319) 399-8605 or

2017-05-09 15:14:55 - General

Allison Bailey
Allison Bailey 

Coe College graduating senior Allison Bailey has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship grant. The Fulbright award will allow Bailey to teach in Bulgaria during the 2017-18 academic year.

In all, six graduating Coe seniors and a recent alumna received prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards this spring.  The seven recipients represent a new record number of Coe students and recent alumni who have been awarded Fulbrights in a given year. 

Bailey graduated on May 7 with a major in political science and minors in French and theatre arts. While at Coe, Bailey participated in stage management and various tech positions for the Theatre Department.  She has been involved with Off-Stage Players, Concert Band and Handbell Ensemble.  Off campus, she volunteered at elementary schools in Cedar Rapids and volunteered to provide support to refugee families.  In addition, Bailey traveled to Serbia for a Coe May Term experience her freshman year.

As part of her educational experience, Bailey has taught theatre classes for young students, as well as tutored French, political science and English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) students.  With this background, she feels well prepared for teaching Bulgarian secondary students in the Fulbright program.

“My theatre experience has really prepared me,” said Bailey. “The Bulgarian Fulbright Commission was impressed with my theatre experience as well as my LGBTQ advocacy during my Skype interview. My confidence stems from my theatre experience, both with acting and stage management.”

Early on at Coe, Bailey was exposed to the Fulbright program through conversations with her academic advisor, Political Science Professor Bruce Nesmith, as well as retired English Professor and former National Fellowship Advisor Ann Struthers.  While initially interested in the Peace Corps, by her senior year Bailey was convinced that pursuing a Fulbright was the best option for her.

While interning at the American Foreign Service Association in Washington, D.C. during her junior year, the foreign service officers she worked with encouraged her to apply for the Fulbright.  She then emailed Coe English Professor and National Fellowship Advisor Amber Shaw to begin the application process.

With a passion for helping others, Bailey wants to create a space for forced migrants to express their experiences creatively in the future.

“I want to work with forced migrants,” explained Bailey. “I would like to create a theatre space where they can tell their stories through theatre and music.”

Long term, Bailey plans to enroll in graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in public administration or arts administration.

A graduate of Webster City High School in Webster City, Iowa, Allison is the daughter of Kent and Milissa Bailey. 

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 370,000 participants—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential—with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.  More than 1,900 U.S. students, artists and early-career professionals in over 100 fields of study are offered Fulbright Program grants to study, teach English and conduct research annually in over 140 countries around the world.

Coe has established itself as a leading national producer of Fulbright scholars, with 20 in the past five years, and 28 awardees in the past decade.  This builds upon the tradition of Coe students, alumni and faculty who have received Fulbrights since the program was established.

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.