Sofia Cranley is headed to Colombia through the Fulbright program and she’s taking all of her experiences from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with her.
The senior from Madison, Wisconsin, earned a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant award, which will take her to South America during the 2019-20 academic year.
Cranley, a global studies, sociology and Spanish major, said her undergraduate experiences at Nebraska have prepared her well and that the Fulbright program’s mission resonates with her.
“Throughout my undergraduate career, I have studied globalization, international relations, language, culture and other topics that have really led me to [the program],” the graduate of West Madison High School said. “Fulbright’s goal is to promote mutual understanding, something which I believe is so important, especially at a time when the world is becoming more interconnected and our relationships to one another are therefore becoming more and more complex.”
During her time in Colombia, Cranley is looking forward to having meaningful conversations about globalization and global problems, and establishing strong connections with her students through open dialogue and conversation. She is also excited to have some time to explore the country.
Fulbright recipients are encouraged to supplement their teaching experiences in the classroom by doing volunteer work and outreach within their host communities. While at Nebraska, Cranley has been active in work around immigration and immigrant communities. She served as an Immigrants and Community intern with Nebraska Appleseed, a local organization that fights for social justice issues for all Nebraskans, as well as a teaching assistant for a Sociology of Race and Ethnicity course. Cranley hopes to continue her work with vulnerable communities in Colombia by volunteering with a local organization such as Anda, which provides assistance to women, youth, Afro-Colombians and indigenous individuals facing displacement due to political unrest and violence.
Upon returning to the states, Cranley plans to pursue a career as an immigration lawyer. She is hopeful her time in Colombia will solidify her Spanish language skills and give her the tools to better communicate with the community she hopes to serve.
The Fulbright Program, established in 1946 and funded by the U.S. Department of State, is designed to foster understanding between the United States and other countries. The U.S. Student Fulbright program gives recent graduates, graduate students and young professionals the opportunity to conduct research, study, or teach in one of 160 designated countries. Students such as Cranley are awarded the Fulbright on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.