Magazine On-line [spring 2013]
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Alumna Profile

Rachel Wilson
Rachel Wilson ’07, coordinator of a Fulbright Commission advising center in Colombia, passed a waterfall while hiking in Choachí.

 Rachel Wilson advises Fulbright students in Colombia

An internship with the Institute of International Education helped launch Rachel Wilson ’07 into a position as coordinator of the advising center with the Fulbright Commission in Bogota, Colombia.

The Spanish graduate went on to earn master’s degrees in Spanish literature from the University of Kentucky and in international relations from Syracuse University. As part of her Syracuse program, she had an internship with EducationUSA, a division of IIE that is a network of advising centers around the world and works with students who want to study in the U.S. through the Fulbright Commission. She split time between EducationUSA headquarters in Washington, D.C., and its office in Santiago, Chile. Toward the end of that internship, she found the position with the Fulbright Commission in January 2012, working with Colombian students who plan to study at the post-secondary level in the United States.

“We offer personal advising, GRE prep courses, and variations of the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam, and we host web chats and in-person visits for administrators who come to Colombia,” she said. “The bulk of the students are interested in applying for the Fulbright Scholarship or are already nominees for the Fulbright and are looking to come to the U.S. in the next year.”

Part of the scholarship’s requirement is for the student to return to Colombia and carry out a project that would have some kind of impact on the country, whether it be scientific, academic, artistic, or otherwise. Former Fulbright scholars include Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos and three of his cabinet members.

Wilson says the contact with these gifted students is one of the most gratifying aspects of her job.

“I’ve been really impressed with not only their academic levels, but also their motivation and creativity,” she said. “It’s fulfilling to work with these students, and it’s been enlightening to see the broad range of projects they’re involved in.”

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