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Simmons Prepares Fulbright Students for Re-entry

April 29, 2013

For the second year in a row, Simmons hosted international Fulbright students on campus for a customized re-entry program. Approximately 100 Fulbright women from all over the world took part in the four-day program in April, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The women participating in this seminar came to the United States through the Fulbright Foreign Student Program to earn masters or doctoral degrees. They are nearing the end of their programs, and are preparing to return to their home countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Western Hemisphere, Southeast Asia, and South and Central Asia. The scholars are students of journalism, health sciences, engineering, information technology, and business administration, among other fields of study.

During the seminar, students explored issues related to women’s leadership and cultural, gender, and the professional re-entry challenges they may encounter upon return to their home countries – skills that will make them more successful in pursuing future professional opportunities.

Anya Kekilova, who lives in Turkmenistan and studied engineering, said she appreciated learning about leadership from a female perspective.

“All these years I studied engineering, so leadership is a change,” she said. “We are all professionals, but sometimes it’s hard as women. I always have some doubts, I know that I am capable, but I don’t always know how to speak about it.”

In their four days at Simmons, the women attended classes taught primarily by Simmons faculty on topics such as goal setting, networking, leadership potential, negotiation, and communication style. Joining them was Susan Ness, Vice Chair of the Fulbright Scholarship Board and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies; and Marjorie Margolies, former U.S. Congresswoman and Woodrow Wilson Fellow.

“Bringing so many wonderful people together with so many diverse backgrounds is possible because of Fulbright,” said Tahsina Haque, a Fulbright scholar who is an assistant professor at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology in Bangladesh. “It’s a great experience.”

This is the second time Simmons has hosted a re-entry seminar for Fulbright scholars through the U.S. Department of State. Last year, in a highly competitive process, Simmons was selected to host 30 Fulbright women from Latin America.