A total of seven graduating Hope College seniors or recent graduates have received recognition through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.
Brianna Dotson, a graduating senior from South Haven, received an English teaching assistantship. She will teach in a high school in the city of Liberec in the Czech Republic during the 2019-20 academic year.
Sara Plohetski, a graduating senior from South Lyon, received an English teaching assistantship to Spain, and will be teaching in the Canary Islands during the 2019-20 academic year.
Daiga Cers, a graduating senior from Western Springs, Illinois, was recognized as a semifinalist for an English teaching assistantship to Senegal. Shanley Smith, a graduating senior from Holland, was recognized as a semifinalist for an English teaching assistantship to Greece. Ashley Trojniak, a graduating senior from Sterling Heights, was recognized as a semifinalist for a research fellowship to study chemistry in Switzerland.
In addition, 2015 graduate Allyson Hoffman received an English teaching assistantship to Norway, and 2018 graduate Taylor Bailey was named an alternate for an English teaching assistantship to Thailand.
Since 2008, more than 30 Hope students or recent graduates have received awards, and several others have been named alternates or semi-finalists. Dotson, Plohetski, Cera, Smith, Trojniak and Bailey all began their applications as Hope students in either the fall of 2017 or the spring of 2018. They were mentored by Dr. Janis Gibbs, associate professor of history, and Dr. Stephen Maiullo, associate professor of classics. Hoffman applied as an at-large candidate.
Dotson is an education major, focused on kindergarten through eighth grade students, and minoring in early childhood education and teaching English as a second language. She spent the spring 2018 semester at Liverpool Hope University in Liverpool, England. Her other activities as a Hope student have included serving as a volunteer mentor with the Children’s After School Achievement (CASA) program, the student-organized Dance Marathon held on behalf of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, serving as an orientation assistant, the Nykerk Cup competition and the Sailing Club. She is a 2015 graduate of South Haven High School.
Plohetski is earning two majors in education, one focused on kindergarten through eighth grade students and the other in K-12 Spanish education with an elementary-school emphasis, and minoring in K-8 mathematics education and teaching English as a second language. A diver on the women’s swimming and diving team, she was among the student athletes who participated in the college’s Sports Evangelism to Equip Disciples program in Zambia in the summer of 2017. Also in the summer of 2017, she worked with the summer science campus organized by the college’s ExploreHope program and was at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., where she participated in faculty-student collaborative research examining how Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro have been interpreted and represented in contemporary literature, music and the visual arts. She spent the spring 2018 semester in Santiago, Chile. Her activities have also included serving as an orientation assistant, Bible studies through Campus Ministries, Dance Marathon and the Nykerk Cup competition. She is a 2015 graduate of South Lyon High School.
Cers is majoring in French education and minoring in secondary mathematics education. She spent the spring 2018 semester in Nantes, France. Her activities have also including serving as a residence-life assistant, the College Chorus and the Nykerk Cup competition. She is a 2015 graduate of Lyons Township High School.
Smith is majoring in English with a writing emphasis and classical studies, and minoring in theatre. She participated in the college’s Vienna Summer School in Austria in 2016. Her activities have also included theatre productions, the campus Opus literary magazine and the Hearts Aloud spoken-poetry student organization. She is a 2015 graduate of Holland Christian High School.
Trojniak is majoring in French global studies and chemistry. She spent the fall 2017 semester in Nantes, France, and participated in the college’s “Land, Wildlife, Culture” May Term in China. She has been active in student-faculty collaborative research, and in 2017 won the “Outstanding Student Poster Award” in the COLL Student Poster Contest during the National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society. She is a 2015 graduate of the Utica Academy for International Studies.
Established in 1946, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program currently awards approximately 2,000 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.