By Ryan Wincig
Shortly before the application was due, Schuff believed that she didn’t have a chance and decided not to apply. Her advisor, AOP Director Philip Poczik, then persuaded her to apply. When she vocalized concerns about her homework, he said to her, “Your homework doesn’t matter when your future does.”
Schuff applied for and was awarded an English Teach Assistantship (ETA). Schuff said, “Since I do want to pursue a career in teaching or education policy I applied for the ETA.”
Schuff explained the rationale behind her choice of teaching in a foreign country, drawing upon her own Union experiences and post-commencement plans.
“I participated in the pilot program of the Cambodia study abroad that was started by [Professor] Hal Fried and that was what really set me off in this direction,” Schuff stated.
“It was such an incredible experience being on that side of the world … teaching and learning … I thought I had the right tools to apply for a Fulbright to Indonesia and be successful during my time there,” she continued.
Schuff was also selected for Teach For America but was granted a one year deferral because of her fellowship.
Schuff drew on her personal experiences as the “first in my family to go to college” and the educators who helped her get to college and, ultimately, her Fulbright Fellowship acceptance.
“If you don’t have the same opportunities and resources,” Schuff noted, a college education “isn’t a reality for everyone.”
Spurred to action by the prevailing educational concept of, “It’s not how you do, it’s where you live,” Schuff saw the promise of a good education.
Remembering what educators in high school and college had done for her, Schuff showed how she would achieve her dreams, saying, “School was the way for me to do it.”