WORCESTER, Mass. - July 3, 2008 - Virginia L. Ward '08 of East Haven, Conn., a recent graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Taiwan during the 2008-09 academic year. She is the first WPI student to be named a Fulbright Scholar in the university's 143-year history.
Ward, who pursued a double major at WPI in International Studies and Society, Technology, and Policy, received her Bachelor of Science degree with high distinction on May 17. Between August 2008 and June 2009, she will assist teachers of English language classes in local schools in Taiwan. She also hopes to study the Chinese language and enhance mutual understanding between the United States and Taiwan. Administered by the Institute for International Education, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards full research grants to graduating seniors and young alumni after an extensive application process. Recipients receive a stipend to cover travel, housing, and living expenses.
"Virginia Ward took full advantage of our Global Projects Program, completing projects in England, Namibia, and Morocco," said WPI Provost John Orr. "This international background provides superb preparation for her activities as a Fulbright Scholar. We will follow her career with great interest."
Ward, who is planning to pursue a career in U.S. diplomatic service, participated actively in WPI's global programs. She completed research projects on literary utopias in London, England, rainwater collection in informal settlements in Windhoek, Namibia, and migration from Morocco to Spain at Ifrane, Morocco. Her blog about her experience in Morocco appeared on the WPI Admissions Web site. In addition to her academic work, Ward served as vice president of the service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, coordinator of the Model United Nations, and president of Student Pugwash.
"I am very excited about this amazing opportunity and hope to have an exciting and fulfilling year in Taiwan," said Ward, who says she will either enter graduate school or launch a career in government when she returns to the United States. "I'm looking forward to learning all I can about the Taiwanese culture and people, and then putting everything I learned both at WPI and overseas through my school projects research to use in my career."