Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Inglemoor alumna receives fellowship to teach English oversees

Scripps College alumna Elsa Hammons Watland, a 2009 graduate of Inglemoor High School in Kenmore, has earned a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship to teach English to high school and college students in Mongolia.

She will begin her fellowship in either late August or early September. A 2013 graduate of Scripps College, Watland studied abroad in Kenya in fall of 2011 to conduct an independent research project examining a drought-prone community’s reluctance to adopt sorghum as a staple grain instead of maize, despite sorghum’s higher nutritional value. In 2012, Watland returned to Kenya after the College awarded her a Johnson Summer Student Research Grant. On her second trip to Africa, she worked for an e-commerce site that sold products made by Kenyan female artisans.

Watland majored in politics and international relations with a focus on development and agriculture. She credits her experiences at Scripps in preparing her for her Fulbright award.

“I was drawn to Scripps’ beautiful setting and its unique status as an all-women’s college within The Claremont Colleges Consortium," Watland said. "I loved having the option of taking classes at the other colleges, but having a core community at Scripps. I have had a lot of time to reflect on how Scripps has shaped me. I am often praised for my writing skills and ability to think critically.”

Watland says she is eager to begin her fellowship.

“This is a dream come true,” Watland says. “Mongolia is experiencing a high demand for instructors who could teach English, since its economy and middle class are both expanding.”

Each year, a high percentage of Scripps students are chosen for such grants and fellowships as the Davis Projects for Peace, Goldwater Scholarship, the Strauss grant and Fulbright awards. The College has the distinction of being a “top producer” of Fulbright student awards. Rigorous academics and its high-achieving students are two reasons for the trend.

After completion of her Fulbright, Watland plans to pursue a graduate degree.

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