Grove City College senior Jessica Mattson has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to teach English in Ecuador.

Mattson, a Spanish Education major from Gibsonia, Pa., is the first Grove City College student to win a coveted English Teaching Assistantship award in over a decade. Her fellowship is one of just four the Fulbright program awards to U.S. students in 2018 to work in the South American country.

The program places Fulbrighters in classrooms abroad to provide assistance to local teachers and serve as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. Mattson will be assisting English language teachers at the university level. A violinist who plays in the College’s string quartet, orchestra and chamber orchestra, she plans to do volunteer work with young musicians and gain an understanding of the El Sistema musical teaching style that’s emerging in Ecuador.

“I hope to come away from this experience with a better understanding of how the U.S. education system can work to connect Latino students and their families with their communities through music and language instruction,” she said.

Mattson first heard about the Fulbright program a few years ago and decided to apply last summer. She said she got a lot of help from professors at Grove City College, including the College’s Fulbright Program Adviser, Dr. Erik J. Anderson. “The professors here on campus played a huge role in the success of my application. They were more than willing to offer advice and ideas that were crucial to the formation of my application,” Mattson said.

The College’s commitment to providing a comprehensive liberal arts education that’s not limited to a student’s major, helped make the Fulbright fellowship possible, she said.

“One of the great things about Grove City is that it allows students to be well-rounded and to pursue interests within different departments. Without having had opportunities within both the language and music departments during my time at the college, I would not be where I am today,” Mattson said.

Established in 1946, the Fulbright program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the United States government. Its aim is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries. Recent alumni and seniors may apply for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program working together with their college’s Fulbright Program Adviser.

Grove City College has a history of Fulbright award winners. The most recent awardees include:

  • David Jetter ’00, binational business program in Mexico.
  • Nicole R. Rudolph ’02, taught English in South Korea.
  • Jonathan Bond ’04, studied political science in the United Kingdom.
  • Mariah Perrin ’05, taught English in South Korea.
  • David Frick '09, studied small business accounting practices in China.
  • Luke Juday '10, studied intercollegiate debate and public policy in Botswana.
  • Jennifer Ferris '11, studied entrepreneurship in Canada.
  • Andrew Caffro ’13, worked on HIV/AIDS stigma and public health in India.
  • Marley Kropp ’17, U.K. Fulbright undergraduate program in Wales.

Grove City College’s faculty also include former Fulbrighters: Drs. Rebecca Harmon (Switzerland, ‘07), Andrew Mitchell (Spain, ‘03), Beverly Carter (Austria, ’79) and Anderson (Canada, ’95).

The Fulbright program’s distinguished alumni include heads of states, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs, and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists and teachers. They include 59 Nobel Laureates, 82 Pulitzer Prize winners, 71 MacArthur Fellows, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients and thousands of leaders across the private, public and non-profit sectors.