Senior awarded Fulbright grant to teach English in Kazakhstan

May 7, 2015

University of Richmond senior Kimberlee Laney of Gorham, Maine, has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grant to teach English in Kazakhstan.

The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program places recent college graduates and young professionals as English teaching assistants in primary schools, secondary schools or universities overseas – improving local students’ English language abilities and knowledge of the United States, while increasing the U.S. student's own language skills and knowledge of the host country, according to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Laney is an interdisciplinary major studying education and development with a minor in women, gender and sexuality studies. She will be in Kazakhstan for 10 months starting in September to not only assist in a classroom, but also serve as a cultural ambassador in the community.

“I'm incredibly excited and honored to have received a Fulbright scholarship,” Laney said. “It has been my goal since I was in high school, and I know completing a Fulbright will be a wonderful beginning for my intended career in international education.“

“The University of Richmond is an internationally-focused university and has fully supported my goals. I will always be grateful to Richmond for giving me the abundant opportunities that contributed to receiving this Fulbright grant,” Laney added.

Laney participated in two study abroad projects while at University of Richmond. She spent her junior year in Uganda (fall semester) and Mongolia (spring semester with the School for International Training). It was in Mongolia that she learned about the Kazakh minority and became interested in their culture and history, which is why she pursued a Fulbright to teach in Kazakhstan. She also studied abroad in Germany during high school and says these experiences and her Japanese-American cultural background contributed to her career goals.

Richmond’s international education program sends nearly 65 percent of undergraduates to study abroad with university support, while bringing international students from more than 75 countries to study on campus. The university’s Office of International Education has relationships with nearly 80 institutions outside the U.S., enabling Richmond students to study abroad for the same cost as attending the university.

“We are thrilled for Kim to receive the Fulbright scholarship,” said Joe Hoff, Interim Dean of International Education. “Receipt of a Fulbright award for a UR student is testament to the accomplishments of The Richmond Promise, which prepares students to contribute to a diverse and global society. Kim’s education at UR prepared her for this great opportunity!”

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. Fulbright grant recipients are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.

Laney is the second Richmond student awarded a Fulbright ETA grant for 2015-16. Gwen Setterberg will be teaching English in Argentina.

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