Q&A With Baylor Fulbright Recipient Ross Natividad

May 11, 2012
Ross NatividadBaylor University alumnus Ross Natividad of Waco is one of five Baylor students and recent graduates who have been selected to receive the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship.

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WACO, Texas (May 11, 2012) - Baylor University alumnus Ross Natividad of Waco is one of five Baylor students and recent graduates who have been selected to receive the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship. A 2010 Baylor graduate with a double major in international studies and Spanish and currently a master's candidate in Spanish, Natividad received the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) and will spend the 2012-2013 academic year in Indonesia teaching English to high school students.

Baylor Media Communications recently conducted a Q&A with each of Baylor's most recent Fulbright recipients.

Baylor Media Communications: How did you find out that you had received a Fulbright and what was your reaction?

Ross Natividad: I found out about the Fulbright through e-mail. Fulbright's notification process has always been mysterious; I'd always thought that winners were notified by mail so I was very nervous at first to open the e-mail. But when I received the good news, I immediately sat down, said a prayer, and let it sink in.

Baylor Media Communications: Why did you decide to apply for the Fulbright and why Indonesia?

Ross Natividad: Dean Elizabeth Vardaman introduced me to the Fulbright at one of her national scholarship workshops (which I would encourage other Baylor students to attend). I was immediately attracted to the opportunity to travel and work abroad, so I applied for it my senior year. Although I did not get it, I learned a great deal from the experience and decided to apply again two years later. I believe those two years helped me prepare a much stronger and more mature application.

Empowering others through language is what motivated me to apply for a Fulbright to Indonesia. I delighted in the prospect of interacting with students of a different culture and possibly improving their quality of life through English. As an International Studies major, I learned of Southeast Asia's endemic problem with poverty and saw its harsh realities while on a study abroad program to Cambodia and Thailand. Visiting local schools in these countries, I met students who journeyed miles away from their homes just to attend their classes. I quickly realized how education was such a precious, yet limited resource in Southeast Asia. The Fulbright will put me in an opportune position to apply the skills I have gained as an educator and provide a much-needed service in a country where much of its population still lives under the poverty line.

Baylor Media Communications: Through the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA), you will be teaching English in Indonesia?

Ross Natividad: I will be an English Teaching Assistant to Indonesia, teaching conversational English to high school students.

Baylor Media Communications: Why did you decide to come to Baylor for your undergraduate study?

Ross Natividad: As a Waco native and brother of a proud Baylor graduate, I was always close to the university and made it my priority to attend here. The personalized attention that I received in my BIC (Baylor Interdisciplinary Core) classes, the professors and friends that I've met throughout the years, and the students I've been fortunate enough to teach have truly made my college experience an irreplaceable one. I have been continuously challenged and rewarded here at Baylor.

Baylor Media Communications: What are your plans after Baylor and the Fulbright?

Ross Natividad: The ability to empower others has always been a source of motivation for me. The Fulbright program will provide me added international experience and awareness needed for immigration law, which is the field of study I plan to pursue upon returning to the United States. I want to provide legal services to immigrants aspiring to live the American Dream. In order to do so, I know I must develop skills that will help me interact with, relate to, and represent people from different cultures. Whether through language or the law, I am at my best helping others gain the tools they need for a better life.

Baylor Media Communications: Who are some of the Baylor faculty members who helped you in your major, as well as your Fulbright application?

Ross Natividad: Without the guidance and assistance of Dean Elizabeth Vardaman, Dr. Jan Evans and Dr. Randy Wood, I would not have won the Fulbright. I am very thankful for these faculty members, as they have given me academic and moral support throughout the application process and my years at Baylor.

The ample amount work that Dean Vardaman, Dr. Evans and Dr. Wood devoted to my application provides an admirable example of how Baylor professors have a genuine care and interest in the academic growth of their students.

I would also like to thank the members of the Department of Modern Foreign Languages. I have learned a great deal from my professors and colleagues within the department and I'm proud to be a member of the MFL community.

Lastly, and most importantly, I want to thank my entire family who has been and will always be my source of encouragement and inspiration.

Jan Evans, Ph.D., associate professor and graduate program director, division of Spanish and Portuguese, department of Modern Foreign Language, Baylor College of Arts & Sciences: He is an exceptional young man, and I'm so delighted that he is going to get this opportunity to go to Indonesia with the Fulbright program. Ross has an inner drive to do whatever he is given to do exceptionally, though in a quiet, unassuming way. His students in Indonesia will find what Baylor undergrads have found, that he is an effective teacher and a great encourager in the classroom. He has a brilliant mind, demonstrated clearly at his master's thesis defense, which will no doubt shine as he takes up his law career. He has a seriousness of purpose that is admirable, and I am certain that he will make us all proud as he undertakes his Fulbright responsibilities.

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