Alex Suarez. Photo by John Atashian

Alex Suarez. Photo by John Atashian

A member of Trinity College’s newly graduated Class of 2016 was awarded an English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. This past summer, Alex Suarez started his year teaching English at Khovd University in the rural Khovd Province in western Mongolia. The Fulbright ETA Program places U.S. students as English teaching assistants in schools or universities overseas, increasing their language skills and knowledge of the host country while improving foreign students’ English language abilities and knowledge of the United States.

Suarez, a neuroscience major, was born in Cuba. His family moved to Canada when he was 5 before settling in Florida five years later. He came to Trinity as a QuestBridge Scholar and sees teaching English as a way to offer similarly life-changing opportunities to other students. “I grew up in a poor setting, with schools and friends helping me out,” Suarez said. “There have been certain instances in my life where I’ve been given access to an opportunity, and it’s changed the entire course of my life. At Trinity, I’ve enjoyed the chance to give opportunities to other people, and the Fulbright ETA Program follows that same vein. I think learning English is one of the biggest opportunities you can have, given the globalized nature of the world. If you know English, it opens so many doors.”

Suarez plans to take a gap year after his time in Mongolia. “Two years from now I hope to be enrolled in medical school,” he said.

Alison Draper, director of the Interdisciplinary Science Center and lecturer in interdisciplinary science, has worked with Suarez as a member of the Health Professions Advising Committee (HPAC), which advises students interested in pursuing a career in the health professions. Draper said, “Alex has grown tremendously in his time at Trinity, both as a student and as a person.”

Two other members of the Class of 2016 were named alternates for U.S. Student Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships: Josh Frank for Taiwan and Katherine Gagen for Argentina. Julia Duggan ’16 was a semifinalist for a U.S. Student Fulbright Research Grant for the Netherlands.