A passion for languages leads to Fulbright Scholarship

Sydney Doster

Baker University student Sydney Doster, a senior from Gardner, Kan., and a 2009 graduate of Gardner-Edgerton High School, has received a Fulbright Scholarship for the 2013-2014 academic year to teach English in Nepal.

Doster, a French and Spanish major, will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree on May 19. She leaves in July for Nepal, where she will teach for eight months.

Interested in the languages since high school when she was selected as a Rotary Youth Exchange student, Doster has studied in Switzerland, Spain and Peru.

“I am passionate about learning languages and traveling,” Doster said. “One of the best ways to extend to other people is to teach your own language somewhere else. I enjoy the process, the frustration and the reward of having to learn a language.”

At Nepal, she will work alongside a teacher, instructing students ranging from elementary school to high school.

“I will live with a host family and will be totally immersed in the culture,” she said. “I will have an extra opportunity to study the Nepali language.”

The Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships Program, an element of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, places U.S. students as English teaching assistants in schools or universities overseas, thus improving foreign students’ English language abilities and knowledge of the United States while enhancing their own language skills and knowledge of the host country.

“Sydney is already very well traveled,” said Erin Joyce, assistant dean for liberal studies and professor of French. “Going to Nepal will be a new adventure for her. Sydney is adventurous and I’m not surprised that she chose to spend a year in a place that she has never visited, rather than choosing to go to Europe, where she has already spent a significant amount of time. I know she will be very successful and will have a wonderful experience. She is unafraid to immerse herself in new cultures and loves learning about the world.”

While at Baker, Doster served on the Alpha Chi Omega sorority executive board and was president of Phi Beta Delta, the honor society for students in international education. She also was the vice president of Alpha Mu Gamma, Baker’s honor society for students in foreign languages, and vice president of Sigma Delta Pi, the Hispanic honor society.

The Fulbright Scholar embraced the Baldwin City campus experience. She was an orientation leader and Salon leader, providing a welcoming experience in which students learn college success skills and reflect on their overall learning.

“I selected Baker because I wanted to live close to home,” Doster said. “I knew I would be more successful in a small class environment, and Baker felt right.”

Her parents are Charles Doster of Gardner and Vicki and Roger Stiles of Spring Hill, Kan.

Doster is Baker’s first Fulbright Scholar since Justine Grieve taught English in Germany in 2009-2010.

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