Hannah Wiles awarded prestigious Fulbright grant

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Secretary of the College
(319) 399-8605 or rpritcha@coe.edu

2017-05-09 15:42:06 - General

Hannah Wiles
 Hannah Wiles

Coe College graduating senior Hannah Wiles has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship grant. The Fulbright award will allow Wiles to teach in Thailand 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. 

Wiles graduated cum laude on May 7 majoring in communication studies, with minors in creative writing and Asian studies. Outside of the classroom, she served as a Writing Center consultant and editor of The Pearl.  Wiles also took advantage of study-abroad opportunities in Asia and England as a student.

Wiles became interested in the Fulbright program during her first year, when she heard about the program from retired Coe Professor and former National Fellowship Advisor Ann Struthers. 

“Dr. Struthers shared her experience in Syria (as a Fulbright scholar) and it was really inspiring to me,” said Wiles.  “It wasn’t something that I had originally considered doing, but the more I thought about it, the more I discovered that teaching would be a really good opportunity for me.” 

Wiles will be assigned to teach in a secondary school, and she believes her Coe experience has provided valuable preparation for the Fulbright experience and her future. 

“I wouldn’t have received the Fulbright without Coe, because I wouldn’t have known about the award without Coe,” said Wiles.  “When Ann Struthers came and talked with our first-year seminar class about the Fulbright, it seemed almost silly to think that far ahead to the application process, and yet since that moment, I’ve been preparing for it.”

Additionally, Wiles gained experience by volunteering to teach English off campus while at Coe, both in Cedar Rapids and in Thailand.

“Coe helped me by setting up my opportunities to tutor English at the Catherine McAuley Center,” said Wiles. “Additionally, my Asia Term experience helped me solidify that I wanted to return to Thailand as a Fulbright scholar.”

During the Asia Term experience, Wiles not only confirmed her desire to return to Thailand, but also to continue teaching English.

“While in Thailand for a semester I was able to tutor Burmese migrants,” said Wiles. “That really showed me how much I enjoyed teaching English.”

A graduate of Johnston High School, Hannah is the daughter of Anthony and Nancy Wiles of Urbandale, Iowa. 

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.