May 18—Charissa Doebler ’12, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) Scholarship, through which she will teach for one year in Taiwan, beginning in August. Doebler is the ninth Northwestern representative in the past nine years to receive a Fulbright honor.
The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and is the largest international exchange program allowing students, scholars and professionals the opportunity to engage in study, research or teaching assistantships all over the world. Participants selected include those with strong academic merit and leadership potential.
Since 2004, seven students and two faculty members have received Fulbright grants to research or teach abroad, serving in locations as varied as Czech Republic, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Tanzania.
Heading back to her roots
Strangers who have seen Charissa Doebler on campus may recall wide blue eyes and little else, unaware that the quiet blonde they passed by moved to Mongolia as a 2-month-old, was raised in China and now—as Northwestern’s newest Fulbright Scholar and with American soil less than a decade under her feet— Doebler will greet Taiwan in August. Her yearlong appointment as a teaching assistant in Yilan County follows four years at Northwestern studying English as a Second Language (ESL) Education.
“I’m expecting to gain real experience in doing something on my own in another country,” Doebler said.
International pursuit is in the Doebler family DNA: Charissa follows her brother Josh, a marine on his latest tour in Afghanistan, and parents Yvonne and Robert have traveled since before she was born, most recently teaching in Iraq and moving to Nigeria this summer.
A desire to teach overseas ultimately led her to consider the ETA Program with Fulbright when a professor mentioned it in class one day.“I thought it was really prestigious,” Doebler said, but when ESL Professor Dr. Feng-Ling Margaret Johnson encouraged her as a worthy applicant, she began a journey that started in China.