Madeline Melch '18 and Leslie Markevitch '18 come from different academic disciplines and have diverse career goals. However, both are headed to Europe after graduation to teach English under the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program — opportunities they credit, in part, to Bucknell's liberal arts tradition and support for scholars.
Melch, a psychology major with a minor in German studies, will work with students in Bavaria, Germany, while Markevitch, who majors in English and anthropology, will be located in Latvia. Both are awaiting more details on their assignments. However, they are already planning ways to integrate themselves into their new communities, in keeping with the Fulbright program's emphasis on global relationship-building.
Melch, a member of Bucknell's varsity women's tennis team, hopes to become involved with a community tennis club; Markevitch plans to develop a book club or figure-drawing class to enhance local residents' English-language skills outside of a formal classroom.
"Art transcends culture," said Markevitch, who speaks Russian, but not Latvian, and will face a her own learning curve. "The book club, especially, would provide a fun way for people to get involved with reading works in English."
Melch, who has spent summers teaching tennis and, more recently, working in New York City for a program that serves special-needs students, looks forward to using her German-language skills and continuing to work with young people. She noted that she also appreciates the opportunity to further explore the world before attending graduate school, where she will continue toward her goal of becoming a clinical psychologist.
Markevitch, who plans to integrate a study of Latvian literature into her experience abroad, said her Fulbright award will allow her to synthesize interests she's pursued at Bucknell.
"For me, this combines two of my loves and both of my majors — anthropology and English/creative writing," she said. "I've always had a love of the English language, and I want to share that. I eventually want to become a professor, and this is a step in that direction."
Melch credited German studies professors Peter Keitel and Helen Morris-Keitel — winner of this year's Burma-Bucknell Award for her promotion of study-abroad experiences — with encouraging her to apply for the competitive program. She added that Bucknell's Office of Undergraduate Fellowships & Research provided vital support during the rigorous application process.
"I'm so happy to have this opportunity," Melch said. "I wouldn't have gotten it without Bucknell. So many people helped me through the process."
Markevitch added, "Bucknell gave me a liberal arts education and a base of amazing mentors and professors who really encouraged me to apply for this. As much as I'm sad to leave Bucknell, I'm very excited for the next step."