Wayne State College

Wayne State Student Anna Knezevic Receives Fulbright Award

Published Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

A WSC senior has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Award (ETA) to serve in Malaysia.

Anna KnezevicWayne State College proudly announces that senior Anna Knezevic has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Award (ETA) to serve in Malaysia. Knezevic, of Wayne, Neb., is majoring in marketing and international business.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for individually designed study/research projects or for English Teaching Assistant Programs. Candidates submit a Statement of Grant Purpose defining activities to take place during one academic year in a participating country outside the U.S. 

“My interest in the opportunity comes from my study abroad experience in Greece last spring,” Knezevic said. “I have always been fascinated with learning about other cultures. I applied for the Fulbright Award because travel, international communication, and intercultural experiences have been a significant part of my life and have aligned well with Fulbright’s mission of promoting mutual understanding globally. This experience will also strengthen my knowledge and skills for a career path in marketing and international business.”  

Knezevic’s Fulbright grant covers the cost of airline tickets to and from Malaysia, a living stipend for the year in Malaysia, and health insurance. She will be placed in a secondary school in Malaysia where she will supplement English language instruction and provide a native English speaker presence in the classroom.  

“My goal is for my Malaysian students to gain confidence in their English language skills even when interacting with a native speaker,” Knezevic said. “As a cultural ambassador for the United States, I will share about the culture and values from the American heartland. I will also learn from Malaysians by immersing myself within their community. I am excited at the opportunity to try a new experience, learn at least one of the languages (Malay or Mandarin), and experience everyday life in Malaysia! Also, I look forward to exploring the country and region when school is not in session.” 
Knezevic said her experiences in Wayne State’s study abroad program and her own cultural heritage contributed to her drive to seek international experiences.

“I have always considered myself a citizen of the world, hence the desire to explore opportunities to open my life to an exciting new experience upon graduation,” she said. “Born in Canada to parents from former Yugoslavia, we relocated to Allen, Neb., when I was only three years old. We later moved to Wayne, where I completed elementary and high school. My love for learning through travel and adventure has inspired me to seek opportunities and, as a start, I applied to teach English in Malaysia through the Fulbright program.”

Dr. Pat Lutt, professor of business and marketing at Wayne State, served as a mentor for Knezevic during the Fulbright application process. She said the program is designed for students like Knezevic.

“When Anna was telling me about the Fulbright, I looked at her and said, ‘This is you!’ before she even asked me for a recommendation,” Lutt said. “Anna is the image the U.S. would like to have abroad – gracious, articulate, and conversant in a couple of languages, with a true interest in the local life and culture. She is well read and sees a bigger picture than most people twice her age. She is self-motivated, mature for her years, independent, and an experienced traveler. I will not be surprised if Anna works and lives abroad for stretches at a time.”

Knezevic shared solid advice for students interested in pursuing the Fulbright program as a springboard to international experiences. She also pointed to her work with Dr. Jean Karlen, Wayne State professor emeritus of sociology, and Dr. Leah Keino, director of Multicultural and International programs at Wayne State, as integral to the process.

“Attend the informational session, review the online links, and start your application in the summer,” she said. “After attending the informational session, I learned that the Fulbright program is highly competitive. However, one does not have to have a teaching background to apply for the ETA program. I viewed several videos, did some research on Malaysia, and contacted a recent ETA alumna to learn more about the application process and about her experience in Malaysia. It takes time and effort. I met several times with Drs. Jean Karlen and Leah Keino, my mentors, to discuss my statements and to receive feedback, for which I am most grateful.”

“Anna will make a significant contribution by teaching English to young people in Malaysia,” said Dr. Meena Dalal, professor of economics at Wayne State, and another of Knezevic’s mentors. “At the same time, she will learn a lot because all of her prior experiences were in Europe and North America. This time she will encounter an Asian culture and learn new things from them. Go Anna!” 

During their grants, Fulbrighters meet, work, live with, and learn from the people of the host country, sharing daily experiences. The program facilitates cultural exchange through direct interaction on an individual basis in the classroom, field, home, and in routine tasks, allowing the grantee to gain an appreciation of others’ viewpoints and beliefs, the way they do things, and the way they think. Through engagement in the community, the individual interacts with his or her hosts on a one-to-one basis in an atmosphere of openness, academic integrity, and intellectual freedom, thereby promoting mutual understanding, according to the Fulbright Program. 

The next round of applications for the 2018-19 academic year is due Oct. 6. Interested students are encouraged to attend one of the three informational sessions at 7 p.m. April 11 in the Elkhorn Room and 3:30 and 7 p.m. April 18 in the Niobrara Room of the Kanter Student Center. Applicants will work on their proposals during the summer for submission in early fall. 

For more information, contact Dr. Leah Keino, Fulbright Program adviser, in the Multicultural Center, Kanter Student Center #10, at 402-375-7749 or at [email protected].