JD SwerzenskiJ.D. Swerzenski, a graduate student in media studies at the University of Oregon (UO) School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC), just added his name to the list of more than 15 SOJC faculty members and students who have earned the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program Fellowship for international study.

Swerzenski started his quest to become a Fulbright Fellow back in August. After a long and tedious process involving many interviews and reviews, his experience teaching English in Guatemala City and research at the SOJC put him over the top to win the competitive scholarship.

The Fulbright program is one of the United States’ oldest federally funded fellowships for recent graduates and graduate students. Dating back to the mid-1940s, the scholarship offers a wide range of studying, research and teaching opportunities in more than 160 countries. Its goal is to encourage cross-cultural interaction by sending U.S. students to other countries and bringing international students to the United States.

Swerzenski will be packing his bags and heading to Bogata, Colombia, where he will be an English teaching assistant at La Escuela de Negocios y Administración. He will primarily be assisting the faculty at his host university with English classes and may be teaching some business-related courses.

“A big part of why I wanted to go to Colombia was to build on a lot of the research I’ve done at the University of Oregon,” Swerzenski said.

During his time at the SOJC, Swerzenski has been studying the uses of media production to engage critical thinking. He is hoping to apply this research to his English as a second language (ESL) teaching in a way that helps students not only learn English, but also use it to create in an expressive and meaningful way. Swerzenski also hopes to use his experience in Colombia for later Ph.D. research.

Story by Nikki Kesaris ’18