Cameron Montague ’24 Earns Fulbright to Colombia

The psychology and comparative American studies major will be teaching English at a university and working with an NGO supporting Venezuelan refugees.

May 22, 2024

Communications Staff

A student with her professor in their professor's office. A blue print on the wall, and a bookshelf behind them.
Cameron Montague working with her faculty advisor, Jess Arnett.
Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones '97

Cameron Montague ’24 has earned a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to Colombia for the 2024-2025 academic year. A double major in psychology and comparative American studies, she will teach English at a university and immerse herself in campus life.

“I hope to connect with the university community and participate in clubs, such as sporting, dance, or nature,” Cameron says, “and practice language exchange with Colombians college students.”

Outside of the classroom, she plans to work with an NGO supporting some of the over three million Venezuelan refugees in Colombia. Cameron’s interest in this work grew out of a summer 2023 internship in Pamplona, Colombia, at a grassroots organization called On the Ground International. “I also conducted public health research through Oberlin's David Love Memorial Fellowship,” she adds. “This experience sparked my interest in returning to Colombia to continue this work and especially to understand the realities of this crisis in a different region.”

How did Oberlin influence you to pursue the Fulbright?
Many classes at Oberlin had significant impacts on my inquiry and interest into this region and histories of refugee and immigration studies. Some of the most formative and salient classes included Borderlands with Pablo Mitchell; Constructing Immigrant Communities with Rich Baldoz; Politics of Oil with Amanda Zadorian; and Indigenous Activism, Environmental Justice, and the State with my wonderful advisor, Jess Arnett. 

Additionally, I participated in the SIT/IHP Health and Community in Vietnam, South Africa, and Argentina program. While this was originally not affiliated with Oberlin, the study away office helped me make it transfer here, which was wonderful because it was so meaningful for my studies. 

The support I received from the office of fellowships was really helpful as I prepared my Fulbright application. Danielle Abdon was especially instrumental with reading my essays, answering last minute-panicked questions, and helping me prepare for my interview. Oberlin has such a robust system of support to help as many students as possible succeed with post-college fellowships and programs, it’s no wonder that each year we rank as a top producer of Fulbright scholars. 

How does pursuing the Fulbright align with your post-college life and career goals? 

Portrait of student outside under a tree on a sunny dayI am really interested in pursuing public health, psychology, or policy advocacy, with a focus on the Latin American refugee and immigrant population in the U.S. Some time down the line from this Fulbright, I hope to pursue a master’s degree in refugee and migration studies, public health, or social work. Completing a Fulbright will help me expand my cultural literacy of this region, my Spanish comprehension, and my ability to use cross-cultural collaboration as a means to address global issues of migration and resource access. And it’s also offering me a wonderful opportunity to consider if teaching, NGO work, public health, and Hispanic studies are areas I will pursue for my career. Since I traveled around a lot on my study abroad—I spent each month in a different country—I am also really excited to live in one city for a whole year and really root myself in a community.

What’s the best advice you’ve received from your Oberlin faculty mentor?
I was stressing out about my majors and minors and trying to figure out the puzzle of getting every single requirement done so I could fulfill all of the components of the things I wanted to do. The chair of the comparative American studies program, Gina Perez, told me that having just one major was enough. I didn't have to bog myself down collecting titles of degrees; they were not representative of my learning and I would be better off following the trail of my interests and allowing myself to take classes that truly sparked my interests. She reminded me to remember that the joy of reminiscing about college will be the wonderful things I learned and the passions I explored—not the technicalities of my degree.

Activities Cameron was involved in at Oberlin: Oberlin Student Cooperative Association (OSCA), Harkness member; Women and Trans Rugby Team, Treasurer; Outings Club, trip leader; Barefoot Dialogue, Facilitator; EXCO teacher, NVC CO (non-violent communication).

If you’re a rising or graduating senior interested in Fulbright, connect with Fellowships & Awards to learn more about pursuing research or an arts project, obtaining a graduate degree, or teaching English in a foreign country of your choice following graduation.

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