Loyola Marymount University’s director of National and International Fellowships, Cassidy Alvarado, Ed.D., was awarded the prestigious American International Education Administrator award by the Fulbright Scholar Program. The award offers recipients the opportunity to participate in two weeks of a guided look into the South Korean higher education system, and gives participants hands-on experience with South Korean culture, language, and arts.
“I initially wanted to apply because South Korea is a growing country of interest for our students,” Alvarado said. “This made me want to learn more about the higher education system in South Korea to foster additional partnerships and collaborations for the LMU community.”
The two-week program was spent exploring some of South Korea’s 400 institutions of higher education in addition to cultural landmarks and UNESCO World Heritage sites in Seoul, Sejong City, Daegu, Busan, and other parts of South Korea. Alvarado and her fellow international education colleagues from around the U.S. had the opportunity to engage with higher education officials and current college students. “One of the highlights of the trip was the opportunity to have lunch with South Korean students who will be studying abroad in the U.S.,” said Alvarado. “It was interesting to ask them what they are looking forward to in the U.S., and interesting to hear what news coverage of the U.S. has reached students abroad.”
Additionally, Alvarado saw the opportunity as a learning experience that could benefit her daily work of advising students. LMU’s Office of National and International Fellowships assists students and alumni interested in pursuing external fellowships that support their academic and career goals, and as director, Alvarado serves as the campus’ Fulbright program adviser.
“I also wanted to apply to show students that I can walk the walk, meaning I understand the time and effort it takes to submit a competitive fellowship application,” Alvarado said of her nearly two-year selection process which was impeded due to the COVID-19 epidemic. “Like many applicants, I battled with self-doubt, but even if I hadn’t been selected, I would have showed our students that it’s OK, it’s a learning experience, and I would have reapplied.”
“The Fulbright mission, whether the student or scholar program, is about this mutual understanding between the U.S. and the host country … and that really meets our mission to educate the whole person, developing global, responsible citizens for others,” said Alvarado. Current students and recent alumni can submit their application by Aug. 31, 2022, for the 2023-24 student program. More information about Fulbright can be found on the ONIF website or by contacting Cassidy Alvarado.