History major Catey Borden Wins Fulbright Award

Catey Borden, a History major who graduated in May 2018, was recently named as a recipient of the prestigious Fulbright Award.  The award gives recent undergraduates the opportunity to live abroad and engage in daily cultural exchange with people in their host country.  This is among the most prestigious of national academic awards for undergraduate students in the U.S.  We recently asked Catey some questions about her upcoming experience.


What are the dates of your Fulbright, and where will you be going? I will be in the town of Děčín in the Czech Republic from August 24th-June 30th. This town is in the northern part of the Czech Republic, near the border of Germany. 


What will you be doing on your Fulbright? I will be an English Teaching Assistant at a Gymnasium, which is the equivalent to an American general studies high school. I assist in teaching English as a foreign language and also lead a cultural seminar available for older students. 


How did your History degree influence your decision to go or help you to prepare the application? My history degree played an integral role in selecting the Czech Republic because my interest in the country originated from my Eastern European classes. During my undergraduate experience, I gravitated towards 20th century topics and social movements, but had little knowledge of central and eastern Europe. Therefore, on my application, I relied heavily on my knowledge I gained from my history courses to explain my fascination with the social and political changes in the Czech Republic. Additionally, my history professors were incredibly helpful throughout the process. I reached out to Professor Mills Kelly, who was gracious enough to give me additional information and advice on my application, and Professor Meredith Lair, my History 499 professor, who has remained a resource and a motivation since I took her class.   


What advice do you have for current students who might be interested in pursuing a Fulbright after graduation? My advice would be to start the planning process for the Fulbright early. The application process is rigorous and lengthy. It cannot be a decision you make overnight. Additionally, be thoughtful and strategic about what country would be best for your grant. Make sure you do your research on the country, but also self-reflect on what you can potentially offer and then be receptive to. I would suggest setting up a meeting with the Office of Fellowship or attending one of their information sessions to get the preliminary information.