Adam Barnes Awarded Fulbright

by Richard Paige

April 14, 2014

Wabash College’s Adam Barnes has earned a Fulbright Scholarship as an English Teaching Assistant in Spain. He is the second Wabash man to earn a Fulbright this spring.

Barnes ’14, a native of Bradford, Pa., was awarded the teaching grant and will be based in Madrid educating high school students. Barnes is delaying admission to medical school to take part in the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) program. His educational experience in Spain will give him a greater fluency in the Spanish language and improve his knowledge of socialized medicine. 

The ETA program places a Fulbright winner in a classroom abroad to provide assistance to teachers of English to non-native English speakers, while serving in a small role as a U.S. cultural ambassador. The age and academic level of classroom students varies by country, ranging from kindergarten to university level.

“Spain not only offers an opportunity to teach, but also to learn; one cannot happen without the other,” said Barnes.  Whether as a student or a teacher, the ETA program allows everyone to become advocates for his or her own education. The tools I plan to use will not only teach English, but also stimulate learning in all aspects of life. I want to leave my students attuned to cultural appreciation. I want them to enjoy learning English and to feel comfortable enough to use it in everyday life.”

Adam Barnes will teach in Madrid, Spain.As a Fulbright recipient, Barnes will also serve the local Spanish community by volunteering at a clinic or hospital, allowing him to put his language skills to the test in a practical setting within a country that ranks seventh in the world for best health care provided.

“His interest in the Fulbright and studying abroad came from going abroad. He was always interested in medicine and went abroad and saw some of the conditions in countries outside of the U.S. and got a real concern for the practice of medicine and the broader perspective of health,” said Dr. Eric Olofson, the Wabash Fulbright Program Advisor and an assistant professor of psychology. “He recognized what he needed was an exposure to different cultures, and to the Spanish language, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the different ways to deliver medicine and how that will influence his own practice someday.”

Barnes, a double major in biology and Spanish with distinction in both, sees first-hand knowledge of the pros and cons of socialized medicine as a benefit that will ease his transition to the U.S. medical system, as well as establish a baseline for his medical knowledge and serve as a springboard for his desire to work in urban areas with a limited supply of physicians for Spanish speakers.

“When Adam decides to do something, he doesn’t decide to just do a good job,” said Dr. Dan Rogers, associate professor of modern languages. “He really wants to master the subject. Adam is an excellent example of a kid who wants to wring every drop of information, knowledge, and potential that he has for a subject.”

Further, Barnes plans to participate in medical relief trips throughout the world to provide the services and attention that native Spanish speakers need.

“A Lilly Scholar and a top athlete, Adam has been above average since before he got here and will continue to be above average after he leaves,” said Dr. Alexandra Hoerl, assistant professor of political science and Barnes’ academic advisor. “That doesn’t mean he hasn’t grown in a number of ways. His embrace of things outside of the disciplines we associate with medicine and the way that he’s worked those in with his interest in medicine in a really mature fashion have been fabulous to watch.”

A four-year member of the Wabash swim team, Barnes served as captain in each of the last three seasons.

In 1945, Senator J. William Fulbright introduced a bill in the United States Congress that called for the use of surplus war property to fund the 'promotion of international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture, and science.'

From its inception, the Fulbright Program has fostered relationships in which citizens and governments of other countries work with the U.S. to set joint priorities and shape the program to meet shared needs. The fundamental principle of international partnership remains at the core of the Fulbright mission.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program currently awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.

Barnes is the fourth Wabash man to earn a Fulbright Scholarship since 2001 and joins Sebastian Garren as Fulbright recipients in 2014.


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