CHICAGO, IL (July 24, 2012) – Recent North Park University graduate Michelle Wells has become the third person from the school to earn a prestigious Fulbright scholarship.
Wells, of Monroe, Washington, and an attendee of Creekside Covenant Church in Redmond, is the daughter of Covenant minister, David Wells, who specializes in marriage and family therapy. Her mother, Sue, is an educator.
Wells was on a two-month visit to Europe with her sister, Laurel, earlier this summer when Michelle received an email that the U.S. Fulbright Program had granted her application to go to Colombia to be an English teaching assistant for one year.
Wells had learned in the spring that she was a Fulbright scholarship alternate. She would be granted the award only if someone else was unable to go. “It was very unexpected,” Wells said in an interview. “I had written it off. I was prepared to go on to other ventures.”
She already was in a job interview process with an international organization.
Wells will join more than 30 other recipients of Fulbright grants who will study and work in Colombia this coming year. Wells will help teach English to graduate students at the Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnólogica de Colombia, in Tunja.
Wells earned a bachelor’s degree in global studies from North Park with concentrations in Latin American and African studies. She minored in Spanish and earned a Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management.
South America is familiar to Wells, who lived and studied in Ecuador and Argentina during part of her college years. Her international experience has been formative.
“Every time I am abroad, I am so amazed by the similarities as well as the differences in cultures,” she said. “I think in this world, especially in my generation, globalization is key to our success. Part of this program is to create U.S.–Colombian relations, and I love that idea,” she said.
Wells believes her Fulbright experience will benefit her in the future. She hopes to work in an international nonprofit organization, and perhaps one day, attend graduate school.
Whether she will continue with those plans remains to be seen. Several other Fulbright scholars from the university changed career paths because of other positive experiences they’ve had. (See accompanying story on Rebecca Miller, the university’s first Fulbright winner.)
Wells is the third person from North Park to be awarded a Fulbright scholarship this year. The university has now had eight Fulbright scholarship recipients in the past four years.
Joining Wells with Fulbright Program teaching assignments this year are Karen Kelly and Nnenna Okore. Kelly, a 2012 graduate, was awarded an English Teaching Assistantship to teach in a secondary school in Andorra, a small European country between France and Spain. Okore, associate professor and art department chair, was named a Fulbright Scholar, and will teach and work closely on environmental art projects with artists, galleries, and art organizations in her home country of Nigeria.