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Twice a Fulbright scholar

Named a Fulbright scholar twice, Dr. Nancy Sherman describes both experiences as “life-changing” adventures.

“It’s a life-changing experience, particularly if you want to learn about people, learn about a different culture, and actually live in that different culture,” says Sherman, a professor celebrating her 18th year in the Department of Educational Leadership and Human Development (ELH). Being named a Fulbright scholar was “one of the best things in my whole life. It’s a wonderful opportunity, and I can’t imagine not doing it.”

Sherman’s Fulbright scholarships, which she participated in while on sabbatical, took her to Romania in August 2008 at the University of Oradea and to Riga, Latvia, in 2001 at the Higher School of Social Work and Social Pedagogy “Attistiba.”

Becoming a Fulbright scholar had been an “ambition” of Sherman’s since arriving at Bradley. “Ever since I found out about it, it was my ambition because the whole adventure of going to a different country and getting to know the people and their education system is fascinating to me.”

When researching Fulbright opportunities, Sherman sought places where her expertise would be beneficial and where her family would fit best since her husband and son made the trek both times. Europe’s Latvia and Romania fit both needs, especially since counseling as a profession is relatively new there in comparison to the United States.

In her most recent Fulbright position, Sherman taught career development/career counseling and researched the “Vocational Identity of First-Year Romanian University Students.” She also conducted workshops/short courses on topics such as domestic violence and substance abuse counseling.

When Sherman began her first Fulbright in Latvia as a clinical supervisor for psychologists and social workers at a crisis center, she found herself in a unique position. She had more experience as a mental health professional than anyone else in the country. As a result, she helped develop the master’s program and taught the first courses to the first master’s students. Feeling as though she hadn’t accomplished all her goals, she applied to the State Department. They extended her Fulbright to two semesters. Sherman returned to attend her students’ graduation ceremony as a speaker. Not realizing Sherman would be there, her thrilled students “rushed over, and we had this huge group hug.”

Dr. Nancy Sherman spent several months in Romania as a Fulbright scholar. View a slideshow of Sherman’s photos by visiting bradley.edu/bradleyworks/go/sherman.

While on her Fulbrights, Sherman says complications she faced included a language barrier and “a difference in teaching style.” A graduate student volunteered to translate for her so the language barrier was fixed quickly. As far as teaching styles, Sherman relates, “In a university [there], the professor is the person who knows everything so they lecture and the students are expected to just learn what the professor has to say. This pedagogy is still prevalent even though they are moving away from it. Certainly it’s not my style of teaching.” Complications some other colleagues faced included students sharing information on tests and not coming to class.

Besides enjoying being immersed in a different culture and making lifelong friends, this ELH professor is excited she was “part of the growth of the development of the mental health profession” in Latvia and Romania. She also believes her family had an impact on those they met. “We met people who never met an American before. I think all of us—my husband, my son, and I—gave America a good name.”

Participating in the Fulbright experiences was beneficial to her career, Sherman says. “I have a much more global view of our profession, of counseling, and I think I’ve tried to incorporate that in my teaching because the profession of counseling really is developing rapidly in some areas around the world.”

Established in 1946 by the U.S. government, the Fulbright Program is described as the “flagship international educational exchange program…and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”

Since Sherman has reached the maximum number of Fulbright scholarships allowable in a lifetime, what’s next? “After I retire from Bradley, I might go into the Peace Corps.” She also has gotten involved with an international counseling organization, and she encourages others to apply for Fulbright scholarships. In fact, Dr. Chris Rybak, ELH Department chair, was a Fulbright scholar in Fall 2009 assisting in the establishment of a counseling program at Kathmandu University in Nepal.

Twice a Fulbright scholarBuilding capacity in science and engineering
A math lesson For DummiesNurse anesthesia program is proper dose for all
Awards and recognitionA key role Passion and performanceGrant Activity