Nabila Rahman’s upcoming year as a Fulbright Scholar is an opportunity for her to come full circle: combining her interest in development studies with her undergraduate interdisciplinary major—politics, philosophy, economics and law (PPEL).
While studying abroad in Nepal during her junior year, Rahman had the opportunity to intern with Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus at the Yunus Centre in Bangladesh and get exposed to hands on work with social businesses.
“A social business is essentially a self-sustaining business with the goal of alleviating a social problem, be it malnutrition, lack of access to clean drinking water, or others,” explained Rahman. “My PPEL major played a key role in preparing me for this experience as development is rife with questions of economics, politics, governance, ethics, and more.”
After returning from her trip and sharing her experiences with Dr. Joe Hoff, Associate Dean of International Education and a trusted advisor, Dr. Hoff encouraged Rahman to apply for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, which provides grants for English Teaching Assistantships (ETA).
The Office of Alumni and Career Services also played an important role in helping Rahman prepare as an applicant by taking advantage of the office’s on-campus mock interview program.
“My on-campus mock interview for the Fulbright program consisted of questions that were almost identical to the ones they asked at my real interview,” said Rahman. She also participated in other Career Services’ programs during her freshman and sophomore years including “Destination Unknown,” a program intended to help students alleviate the stress of finding a major, GRE preparatory sessions, and meetings with her career advisor, Katybeth Lee, to discuss post-graduation options. All that work done in advance paid off as Rahman embarks on her journey.
“I encourage all Richmond students to keep in mind that just about everything is relevant in the long run somehow, often in unexpected and unanticipated ways,” said Rahman.
Ultimately, Rahman hopes to host a PPEL seminar on development studies - for university students in Bangladesh - that focuses on helping students develop and implement viable social business plans.