Mason Winkie, a senior biochemistry and psychology major and honors minor from Bridgeport, WV, has been named West Virginia Wesleyan College’s fourteenth Fulbright Scholar.
Sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Program provides funding for students, scholars, teachers, and professionals to undertake graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools.
Winkie received an English Teaching Assistant Award to travel to the Czech Republic from September 1 through June 30. His main objective while in the Czech Republic will be helping students learn English and more about American culture.
“I chose the Czech Republic mainly because of familial ties to the country through my maternal Grandfather,” Winkie commented.
Winkie says that he is so interested in international travel simply because he wants to widen his perspective to include cultures outside the United States.
“The idea that I know so little about the rest of the world and the billions of people that live outside my sphere of understanding led me to try to connect with as many people from different cultures as possible through opportunities like the Fulbright Scholar program,” he said.
Knowing that having a broad perspective is the key to success, Winkie is excited to gain a wider understanding and appreciation for those outside the American culture.
“An opportunity like the Fulbright Scholarship allows me to live life from a completely new perspective and more fully appreciate my shared connection with the many people on Earth through their happiness, their struggles, and their progress,” he said. “These shared conditions are what can and will unite people in our struggle to overcome all future crisis.”
During his time at Wesleyan, Winkie has volunteered as an English as a Second Language (ESL) tutor, a Bobcat Outdoor Orientation Trip (BOOT) Camp leader, a member of WE LEAD’s Appalachian Experience Interest Team, and was a student representative for the Board of Trustees Enrollment Council. He credits his experience with Wesleyan’s faculty and staff as a key player in his success thus far.
“I have to thank the faculty and staff at Wesleyan who have helped mentor or aid me through my time here,” Winkie stated. “They do such a remarkable job in making me feel like I am their only student by the amount of dedication and friendliness they put into assisting me,” he said. “However, it is their ability to provide all students with this feeling that makes attending Wesleyan such a happy and rewarding experience for everyone.”
Previous Fulbright Scholars from Wesleyan include Katie Oreskovich Loudin, Thailand, 2007; Laura Full, Macao, 2008; Michelle Mayhew, Malaysia, 2008; Brad Foster, Thailand, 2008; Carolyn Bugg, Taiwan, 2010; Jillian Moga, South Korea, 2010; Lucy Swecker, South Korea, 2011; Cassandra Bodkins, Bulgaria, 2012; Kaitlin Whitt, Bulgaria, 2012; Gabrielle LaFata, South Korea, 2013; and Leisa Kimelaskas, Slovakia, 2014. Other Fulbright Scholars Bethanie Thompson, 2008, and Marie Franco, 2010, elected to pursue other opportunities.