Faythe Cooper ’24 Earns Fulbright to Taiwan

The biology major, who has a minor in East Asian Studies, will be teaching English and preparing for a career in global health.

June 26, 2024

Communications Staff

Faythe earing safety gear and holding a large pipet in a science lab
Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones '97

Faythe Cooper ’24 has earned a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to Taiwan for the 2024-2025 academic year. A biology major with an East Asian Studies minor, she will teach English in Taiwan and is looking forward to honing her conversation skills and “exploring the different cultural festivals in Taiwan, like the hot spring festivals in Beitou,” Faythe says.

How did Oberlin influence you to pursue the Fulbright?

Learning a foreign language while pursuing a STEM career showed me the importance of experiential learning. To build on my teaching foundation, I obtained a TESOL qualification, enabling me to incorporate language instruction into activities by introducing target vocabulary and using newly acquired words in real communicative contexts.

After taking Modern China with Professor Yu-chi Chang, I delved more into Taiwanese history through courses outside of my language classes. I aim to investigate the influences of mainland China and Japan on Taiwan and understand how Taiwanese people have forged a unique identity. For instance, some Taiwanese people have adapted several Chinese dishes, so now they are specific to the island. 

Outside the classroom, I took on mentoring roles and assisted with STEM advising. For instance, as a member of different student leadership committees at Oberlin College, I helped organize campus events to connect students in STEM. I am passionate about engaging with my community and increasing the diversity of representation in science and the education system. This also contributed to my motivation to pursue a Fulbright ETA.

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

I plan to merge my interests in biology and Chinese through a future career in global health. To achieve this, I'm actively pursuing the ETA to enhance my language proficiency, cultural understanding, and communication skills. My experiences as a Fulbright ETA will help me improve my Chinese proficiency, enabling me to connect more effectively with native Mandarin speakers as a future physician-scientist. I also expect to interact regularly with patients from diverse backgrounds, and convey scientific information in the clinic and research setting. Having a better understanding of Taiwan’s cultural beliefs, views, and attitudes will allow me to engage and connect with people more as a physician-scientist. Overall, this teaching experience will be invaluable as I embark on my professional journey.

What’s the best advice you’ve received from your Oberlin faculty mentor?

Professor Gunnar Kwakye: “Surround yourself with people who challenge you.”

Activities Faythe was involved in at Oberlin: OSteel; Biology Majors Committee; Black Scientists Guild.

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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