Four for the Road: Pacific's 2006 Fulbrights

By Steve Dodge


Three Pacific students and a faculty member have been awarded prestigious Fulbright scholarships for study abroad, adding to a string of 10 awards going back to the 1998-99 school year. This year's student winners are Kelly Curtan '06, Estelle Konrad '06, and Joy Agner '06. College of Education Professor Tracy Faulconer is Pacific's faculty awardee. She will be in Bosnia-Herzegovina working with teachers on civic education beginning in February.

Curtan, a Spanish language major, said she will use her award for teaching English as a Foreign Language in Madrid, Spain beginning in mid-September. "I will be working as a resource person for the English teachers at the school, as well as leading small groups of students in tutorial sessions and presenting cultural information to the students from a native's perspective." In addition, she said, she will be working on an annotated bibliography of children's literature for possible use in Spanish/English classrooms, volunteering at a family services agency, and "hopefully also taking a few classes at the University to continue my own speaking and writing abilities."

Konrad will be teaching English in Linz, Austria starting in September with a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship from the Austrian government. "Since I plan to be a teacher of English, this assistantship is ideal for sharpening my teaching skills, as well as a welcome gap year between graduation and graduate school," she said.

Agner, a psychology major, will study in Guatemala for 10 months beginning in January. She will be teaching and doing anthropological research in a small community called Santa Maria Tzeja. "My research focuses on the cultural identity of Mayan retornadas, young women who were displaced during the war and have since moved back," she said. "I will also be traveling back and forth to Antigua to develop my study at a research institute called CIRMA (Centro de Investigaciones Regionales de Mesoamerica)."

Curtan, who was also a member of Pacific's league champion golf team, said she is thrilled about the opportunity. "It is going to open doors to help me become involved in issues I feel passionate about. I feel deeply honored to have been selected and I'm excited to serve as a representative of our country and of Pacific University."

Konrad added, "I am very thankful to have such a unique opportunity and am grateful for the wonderful guidance and preparation I've received from the faculty at Pacific."

Agner couldn't agree more: "Of course I am extremely excited - about living in Guatemala for 10 months, working with community, mastering my Spanish skills, and just being adopted into the Fulbright circle. I think this will provide tremendous opportunities for me, both for the near and extended future. More than anything I feel grateful for the amazing support and guidance that I received from faculty here while I was going over my proposal again and again - keeping them in their offices when it was past time for them to leave, and them working with me patiently and diligently to create the best proposal we could."