(June 5, 2023) – She is spending part of summer in Tanzania thanks to a prestigious scholarship.
Jessica Potter, a child psychology major and Honors scholar, is studying Swahili in the East African country from mid-June through early August.
“We are so proud of Jessica and what she has accomplished,” said Dr. Christopher Keller, senior international officer at ETSU and dean of the Honors College. “Jessica has worked hard and is very deserving of this. The award is a perfect fit to help her realize her personal and professional goals in the nonprofit and NGO (non-governmental organization) sector.”
Potter captured a Critical Language Scholarship, a deeply competitive award offered to U.S. college students annually through the U.S. Department of State. The award provides students an in-country language immersion experience in which they gain proficiency in one of the many critical languages offered by the program: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, Turkish and Urdu.
Potter stands as the first ETSU student to receive the award.
Potter is spending 10 weeks in Arusha, Tanzania, near the base of Mount Kilimanjaro in the northeast area of the country. Her interest in Swahili is tied to a previous internship and a future fellowship at Friends of Refugees, a nonprofit organization in Atlanta that assists female migrants and refugees from East Africa.
“I am incredibly thankful and excited for the opportunity to travel to Tanzania and learn Swahili this summer,” said Potter. “I would not be here without the support of wonderful mentors and friends, and I hope my experiences honor the people I care for and will serve in the future.”
The award signals the university’s growing commitment to assist students in winning nationally competitive scholarships.
“ETSU’s Office of Prestigious Awards is committed to helping our students apply for and be awarded some of the most impressive nationally competitive scholarships available,” said Dr. Carson Medley, interim director of Prestigious Awards at ETSU. “Our work in this area over the last couple of years is bearing fruit, and Jessica is proof that we have outstanding students who can compete for these awards. This is only the beginning.”
Indeed, university faculty and staff have already been guiding students toward renowned scholarships.
Piper Floyd, a 2023 ETSU graduate, landed a software developer internship with Wells Fargo and received the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship that provided funding for her yearlong education abroad program in Spain.
She also won a coveted 2022-23 Goldwater Scholarship, a widely respected award handed out to about 400 STEM-focused undergraduates nationally each year.
She was the first ETSU student to receive this honor.
For Keller, these are exciting developments that signal great opportunities.
“ETSU is increasingly becoming a destination school, and we have students who are going out and winning competitive national and international scholarships,” he said. “Our faculty and staff are working hard to assist students in these endeavors, and we are optimistic for what the future holds.”