Sophia Loveless first recognized her talent and love for teaching while volunteering as an English language teacher in Rwanda for a women’s nonprofit organization. The Kearney native will have the opportunity to return to the country this fall as the recipient of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship for the 2016-17 academic year.
Of her previous experience in Rwanda, Loveless said, “I had not previously known what I wanted to do as a career, but after this experience I knew that my future belonged in education, specifically international education with an (English as a Second Language) emphasis.”
Loveless graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May 2015 with majors in political science, global studies and history, and minors in ethnic studies, human rights and humanitarian affairs, and African studies.
She traveled extensively during her time at UNL, completing three study abroad trips to Rwanda, Uganda and Turkey and a six-week internship program at Xi’an Jiaotong University in China. The experiences inspired her career aspirations and shaped her teaching skills. She has also gained experience in the Lincoln community through volunteer work with the Writing Lincoln Initiative and the Lincoln Literacy program.
As a multi-major graduate, Loveless has had a longstanding global perspective. The opportunity to teach in Rwanda will build upon the experiences she has already had with teaching English as a second language. From her past experience, Loveless knows firsthand the benefits her students will receive from their English education.
“English opens up a new world of possibilities for students, such as access to untranslated books, job opportunities and connections to people of other cultures,” she said. “Rwanda is a rapidly progressing country economically, and a workforce fluent in English will only help its rising economic position in the global environment.”
Upon her return to the United States, Loveless will pursue a graduate degree in international education with a concentration in ESL. Upon receiving her degree, she intends to work in international educational development with the United Nations or a non-governmental organization.
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. Recipients such as Loveless are awarded the Fulbright on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as their potential for leadership in their fields.