English graduate student receives Fulbright award -
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English graduate student receives Fulbright award

Muriel Unseth (BBA ’19) has received a Fulbright award to the Czech Republic for the 2021-22 academic year. Currently, Unseth is nearing completion of a master’s degree in The University of Tulsa’s Department of English Language and Literature. “I’m scared and thrilled and absolutely honored to have this opportunity,” said Unseth. “How many times in your life do you get to sign up for a genuine adventure?”

young woman with long hair wearing a black top standing outdoors in front of red flowers
Muriel Unseth

“Now in its 75th year, the Fulbright program is one of the most competitive and prestigious fellowship programs for academic exchange,” noted Karen Petersen, dean of Kendall College of Arts and Sciences. “TU has a history of success with national and international fellowships, which demonstrates the value of the strong education students receive at TU and the personal growth they achieve as part of that process. Congratulations to Muriel and the faculty and staff who advised and mentored her during her time at TU.”

Overseas adventure awaits

For 10 months, Unseth will serve as a teaching assistant at a high school in a small town outside of Prague. “The Czech Republic’s education system is different than ours,” Unseth explained, “and students select their career paths very early and the education system is therefore more specialized. I could be placed in a gymnasium, a traditional high school focused on college preparation, or I could be placed in a school that specializes in agriculture, military education, nursing, business, arts and music, forestry, wine production — it’s a mixed bag that all sounds pretty fascinating!”

Unseth applied for the Czech program both because she is interested in teaching at the high school level and because the program is curated to be a blend of language acquisition, cultural education and community participation. “That’s a rather dry way to say that I get to connect with kids inside and outside of the classroom,” Unseth remarked. Another aspect of her job will be developing a community club or program. In Unseth’s case, she is planning to create something around her interests in literature or running.

“I am so proud of Muriel and so excited for her to experience this upcoming adventure in the Czech Republic,” said Laura Stevens, the chair of the Department of English Language and Literature. “As a scholar, a teacher and most of all as a person, Muriel fully merits this award. Fulbright Scholars serve at once in an academic and a diplomatic position, fostering international ties, and I know she will do a wonderful job representing the United States and TU abroad.”

Inspired to learn more

On a personal note, Unseth observed, “my primary field of research in my English MA has been modernist literature and the history of the 20th century, and the Czech Republic is right in the middle of European political and martial conflict, particularly WWII through the Cold War. I’m excited to learn more about their history and culture.”

As she looks back on her studies at TU, Unseth notes that the faculty of the Department of English Language and Literature has inspired her “by the quality of their scholarship, the tenacity of their commitment to humanities education and the kindness and encouragement that has characterized my six years here. I can’t say enough how much I have loved being a part of this community, and how much I admire and respect all the faculty who have made my time here so rewarding. All of my English professors are the coolest people I know.”

Fulbright is the world’s largest and most diverse international educational exchange program. As a grantee, Unseth will join the ranks of Fulbright alumni who have become heads of state, jusges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists and teachers. These include 60 Nobel Laureates, 88 Pulitzer Prize winners, 75 MacArthur Fellows and thousands of leaders across the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

A graduate degree in English is an ideal stepping stone to a host of personal and professional opportunities. Discover your path today!