Tupper awarded prestigious Fulbright grant

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

2018-04-27 09:18:54 - General

Claire Tupper
Claire Tupper

Coe College graduating senior Claire Tupper has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship grant. The Fulbright award will allow Tupper to teach in Laos during the 2018-19 academic year.

In all, four graduating Coe seniors received Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards this spring. Coe has been named a top producer of Fulbright U.S. students three of the last six years.

Tupper will graduate on May 6 with majors in biology, neuroscience and French. During her time at Coe, she been involved as the president of Student Senate, Panhellenic Council, Delta Delta Delta, Cedar Rapids Dance Marathon, Biology Club and Pre-Med Club. Off campus, Tupper has served as a volunteer for Care Initiatives Hospice, the St. Luke's Hospital Emergency Department and His Hands Free Medical Clinic. She has also tutored English in the adult basic education program at the Catherine McAuley Center.

In addition, Tupper studied abroad for two May Terms, one in Swaziland and one in Thailand, which served to broaden her world view. She has also completed independent study research in French, conducting oral interviews and a poverty simulator with refugees from the Congo who are living in Cedar Rapids.

During her first-year of study, Tupper became aware of Coe seniors who were receiving the Fulbright award. She sought out English Professor and National Fellowship Advisor Ann Struthers for guidance.

"Ann set me up with a four-year plan to apply for a Fulbright," said Tupper. "She encouraged me to volunteer at the Catherine McAuley Center, and she recommended more writing classes and studies outside of my initial major, so that’s why I added a French major."

Tupper checked in with Struthers each semester to stay on track with her Fulbright plan, and when Struthers retired, she began collaborating with English Professor and current National Fellowship Advisor Amber Shaw.

"Both Anne and Amber helped me a lot with the Fulbright process," said Tupper.

In addition, Tupper was mentored by Coe French Professor Joyce Janca-Aji, as well as German Professor and Director of Off-Campus Study John Chaimov. Tupper was also supported by Provost and Dean of the Faculty Paula O'Loughlin.

"John and Joyce both helped me enormously," said Tupper. "John took us to Thailand (on the Coe May Term course), and that's where I developed a love for Southeast Asia. Joyce has influenced with the French aspect, and Laos was a French colony, so I decided to mix the Thailand experience with the French, and try for Laos."

The rewarding May Term in Thailand coupled with her past experience also solidified Tupper's desire to continue teaching English, leading to the Fulbright opportunity in Laos.

"During the Thailand May Term, we taught English to Burmese refugees," said Tupper. "I had already been an English teacher at the Catherine McAuley Center, so I knew I'd like that aspect of it."

Compared with the other international travel opportunities that she has had, Tupper was particularly intrigued with Southeast Asia.

"Thailand is totally different than other places I've traveled, like France," said Tupper. "It is less developed and a little hotter with a few more bugs, but I ended up loving it there. Laos is kind of like that. There isn't a whole lot of tourism in Laos compared to Thailand. I kind of like to be off the beaten path, and I wanted to try it."

Following her time abroad, Tupper plans to pursue a nursing degree. After working at Mercy Hospital in Cedar Rapids for a couple of years, Tupper has discovered that she Iikes the patient care aspect of nursing in the hospital environment. Eventually, Tupper may become a nurse practitioner. Serving with Doctors Without Borders is something that she would "love to do" in the future.

From day one on campus, Tupper has immersed herself in the Coe experience, and believes it has prepared her well for the future.

"Coe has given me a lot of opportunities," said Tupper. "I jumped in my freshman year and wanted to get involved in almost everything, and I had to start picking and choosing what to do as I moved into more leadership positions. My experiences helped me develop a lot of new skills, and I could not have done it without Coe."

A graduate of Linn-Mar High School in Marion, Iowa, Claire is the daughter of Eric and Barb Tupper of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 380,000 participants – chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential – with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. More than 1,900 U.S. students, scholars, teachers, artists, scientists and professionals were offered Fulbright Program grants to teach English, conduct research and provide expertise in over 160 countries for the 2018-19 academic year.

Coe has established itself as a leading national producer of Fulbright scholars, with 23 in the past five years, and 32 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.