Graduate student receives Fulbright to teach in Romania

By Assistant Campus Editor

Jamie Weaver, a graduate interdisciplinary book & paper arts student, received a Fulbright Research Fellowship March 17 and will leave in October to teach English in Romania.

The Fulbright Program is a prestigious international educational exchange program that offers 8,000 grants annually, allowing winners to study, research or teach in more than 155 countries around the world, according to the program’s website.

“I always wanted a reason to do more traveling and see a little more of the world, so this seemed like a good way to do that and also teach, which I love doing,” Weaver said.

Weaver is currently working on her second Master’s degree at Columbia. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in English in 2006 from Glenville State College in West Virginia, Weaver received a Master’s in English composition and rhetoric in 2009 from Marshall University.  Weaver said this was her second time applying for the Fulbright.

While the Romanian university where she will teach has yet to be determined, Weaver  said she plans to introduce book making and paper art anywhere she goes.

“Oral and written communication skills are something I’ll be teaching in the classroom,” Weaver said. “I think book arts are a way to introduce visual communication skills, and I think both of those can sort of enhance each other.”

Weaver said her passion for book art was ignited when she created her first book, which is filled with original short stories, adding that the hobby complemented her English background.

She said she is excited to experience a new culture but is nervous about communicating because she does not speak Romanian.

“Some people say it’s difficult,” Weaver said. “But I’ve heard other people say that if you know a little bit of Italian or Spanish that it’s similar in a lot of ways, so it should be easy to pick up.”

Catrina DeBord, associate director of International Programs,  said she assisted Weaver with refining her Fulbright application.

The two went through about 10 essay drafts until they were perfect, DeBord said, adding that Weaver’s work ethic and commitment to winning the Fulbright was evident.

“She’s really driven [and] really creative, and that’s allowed her to take on the Fulbright and really challenge herself,” DeBord said.

DeBord said she hopes Weaver learns a great deal during her time in Romania and develops further as a teacher, professional and person. Winning a Fulbright can open many doors for recipients and change the course of their career, she added.

“She’ll walk away with the beginning of a project that she can follow up on as a professional outside of the Fulbright program,” DeBord said. “It will also connect her with a network of past Fulbrighters that are really very strong and active.”

Clifton Meador, interim chair of the Interdisciplinary Arts Department and a 2003–2004 Fulbright recipient, said he is excited for Weaver because he knows how life-changing the award can be.

“The Fulbright program is really great,” Meador said. “It’s such an important experience for Americans to go live in other countries and important for people in other countries to meet real Americans.”

Meador said Weaver is a professional and hard-working student  who deserves the Fulbright. He added that the prestige of winning will help her achieves future goals.

“She deserves the recognition,” Meador said. “She’s an unusually talented student and she helps spread the reputation of Columbia College Chicago.”