Sophia Gliatto ’24 Earns Fulbright to Mexico

The Hispanic studies and comparative American studies major will be teaching English to students.

May 22, 2024

Communications Staff

Student fellowship award winner smiles as they stand on campus green with iconic buildings in the background.
Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones ’97

Sophia Gliatto ’24 has earned a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in Mexico for the 2024-2025 academic year. A double major in Hispanic studies and comparative American studies, Sophia will teach English to students. “[This] will be a really huge challenge as I primarily have experience teaching Spanish. I’m looking forward to using language lessons to forge personal connections with my students.”

How did Oberlin influence you to pursue the Fulbright?
It was a culmination of many factors. I began taking classes in Spanish during my first year. I ended up not only loving the language learning process in college, but also the Hispanic Studies department as a whole, as I had met so many awesome professors who wanted to support my growth. (Special shoutout to Patty Tovar and Ana María Díaz Burgos!) Spanish just happened to become really important to my academic trajectory and personal growth.

While I have had extensive experience working with kids, I went abroad to Argentina during the spring semester of last year and took a philosophy seminar at the local university, where we facilitated philosophy lessons with students at a local elementary school. This seminar reconfigured how I thought about teaching, and motivated me to pursue it even further once I returned to Oberlin.

Over this past year, I have worked closely alongside Kim Faber. Her Language Pedagogy class continued to pique my interest in teaching, and additionally introduced me to language education, a field of study that I had not previously engaged in. Volunteering through the Spanish in the Elementary Schools (SITES) program, and working as her teaching assistant and writing tutor for her Spanish 101 and 102 students, gave me diverse opportunities to hone my language teaching capacities. I have come to deeply care about language education and accessibility of learning materials, which has motivated me to pursue a Fulbright ETA. I feel very fortunate to have had a really strong academic support network to get me here.

How does pursuing the Fulbright align with your post-college life and career goals? While I really value language pedagogy and seek to improve how I engage with language teaching, I still face a lot of unknowns about how an ETA Fulbright will contribute to my personal career trajectory. Even still, I think that pursuing a Fulbright will grant me important skills for facilitating relationships with local communities and develop my Spanish-speaking skills in ways that can be carried through in any facet of my life.

What’s the best advice you’ve received from your Oberlin faculty mentor?
Professor Patty Tovar once told me to leave insecurity aside and just go for it. And that has motivated me to keep pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, not only academically speaking, but also in terms of my own interests and personal motivations. I have a lot of gratitude that she told me this very early in my college career, because I really wouldn’t be where I am if I didn't learn to cultivate confidence in myself during my first couple of years at Oberlin.

Activities Sophia was involved in at Oberlin: Oberlin Resource Conservation Team; Third World Cooperative; Spanish in the Elementary Schools (SITES); Spanish Writing Tutor.

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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