NMSU alumna receives prestigious Fulbright grant to teach in South Korea

Tiffany Cox is quite familiar with studying in other countries. The New Mexico State University graduate and Artesia, New Mexico, native studied abroad in England and South Korea during her undergraduate career at NMSU.

And she’ll soon head back to South Korea.

Cox has been selected to receive the prestigious Fulbright Scholar grant for a 2017 English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in South Korea. She leaves for Korea in early July and will be there for 13 months.

Established in 1946, the Fulbright Scholar Program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Part of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs within the United States Department of State, the program awards approximately 1,600 grants to students in the U.S. annually. The program operates in over 155 countries.

“I’m very honored and excited to go to South Korea and cultivate my relationship with the country and its people through my Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship,” Cox said. “The Fulbright ETA program allows for a unique opportunity to promote mutual understanding between countries, and I hope to not only teach my students, but also to learn as much as I can about their culture and the importance of global connectivity.”

Cox earned both a bachelor’s degree in economics and a bachelor’s degree in government with a minor in international relations from NMSU in the spring of 2015.

Tim Ketelaar, NMSU Honors College associate dean and director of the Office of National Scholarships and International Education, said Cox represents a superb blend of community activism and focused coursework in diplomacy and international relations that have prepared her well for her trip to South Korea.

“Tiffany has been a strong advocate for autism awareness throughout her undergraduate career at NMSU,” Ketelaar said. “And she recently completed an Honors Capstone project that explored how to develop public programs that would effectively engage adults with autism in New Mexico.”

Neil Harvey, NMSU Government Department head and professor, said Cox has the experience, skills and devotion to succeed as a Fulbright recipient.

“Tiffany’s proposal to work as an English Teaching Assistant in Korea builds on her prior experiences there and her English teaching skills,” Harvey said. “This experience will enhance her longer-term desire to help promote greater recognition for developmental disabilities, including autism.”

Cox hopes to continue to be an advocate for autism awareness and other developmental disabilities through volunteer work at the Community Chest of Korea, a nonprofit organization.

Jim Kapsalis, one of Cox’s professors in Korea while she studied abroad in 2014, said Cox earned respect and facilitated change while in Korea.

“The academic environment at Korea University tends to be regimental in its structure and in the behavior expected from students,” Kapsalis said. “Tiffany’s presence within the university commanded respect and trust. At the same time, her interactions and attitude fostered positive changes in teaching. For example, her active participation in classroom discussions encouraged other students to do likewise, which raised the standard of teaching and learning.”

Upon her return from Korea, Cox plans to enroll in a master’s of business administration program with a focus on nonprofit management, so that she may use her experience in the international nonprofit sector. Her goals include continuing to raise awareness of developmental disabilities and mental illnesses while serving as a diplomat for the United States.

The NMSU Honors College will host a Fulbright panel workshop at the Conroy Honors Center in the fall. Previous Fulbright winners and Fulbright National Selection Panelists will be available to answer questions about the application process and the benefits associated with this prestigious award. Students interested in applying for a Fulbright grant in the future are encouraged to attend.


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