Jessica Frankl ’20 Among 2020-2021 Fulbright U.S. Student Award Winners

college student standing outside on a college campus

Jessica Frankl, a senior educational studies and international studies double major from Foster City, CA, is the winner of a Fulbright U.S. Student Award for the 2020-2021 academic year. Depending on travel conditions in the fall, she will serve as an English Teaching Assistant in India.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for English teaching assistantships as well as for individually designed study/research projects. Recipients are chosen for their academic merit and intellectual potential.

“It is such a dream to win the Fulbright. I honestly still feel a state of disbelief,” says Frankl. “I have always loved school both in terms of teaching and learning, but I struggled tremendously in high school due to my autoimmune disease. Rhodes College saw potential in me and has given me so many opportunities I never thought possible. If I had told myself four years ago that I could win a Fulbright, I simply would not have believed it. I am over the moon to go to India, as I love to study the history of this region and because, as one of the most populous and diverse countries in the world, it has so much to teach me both about matters of education and beyond."
As a Rhodes Mertie W. Buckman International Intern, Frankl worked in Cape Town, South Africa, the summer of 2019 at Just Grace, an organization that assists underprivileged high school students in the township of Langa. During her time there, she was involved in lesson planning and tutoring, and created her own program to help Langa students apply to universities. In Memphis, Frankl has also been a regular volunteer at Refugee Empowerment Program as an English tutor.

On campus, Frankl has served as vice president of Culture of Consent. When she was a junior, she won the Bobby Memorial Doughtie Award in international studies. Frankl also is a member of the Sigma Iota Rho, Kappa Delta Pi, and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies.

“I would like to thank Dr. Zachary Casey, especially, for supporting and encouraging me to apply for the Fulbright. He has always been the person I could turn to for advice and help at Rhodes. He taught me about the ‘liberatory’ power of education, which had guided me as I develop my aspirations for the future.”

Upon returning to the U.S., Frankl plans to obtain a master’s degree in education and pursue a career in educational advocacy/reform and teaching. She is passionate about integration and racial equality in education.