Fulbright winner — stretching boundaries

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Somer Nowak, Arts ’14, never let her differences stop her from stretching boundaries. She became the first in her family to attend college, the first to study abroad and the first to speak three languages. She recently added another first to the list. Nowak won a 2014–15 Fulbright Award and will spend an academic year in Brazil teaching English to college students. She also hopes to get involved in assisting with the relocation of residents displaced by the 2014 World Cup.

Nowak surrounds herself with people of different backgrounds because of her interest in their “otherness.” Putting her passion for learning about others into practice, Nowak studied in Argentina and researched the identities of African descendants and of African immigrants, the latter a population unrecognized by Argentina’s government, according to Nowak. She also stayed with a host family in downtown Buenos Aires and took research excursions to Montevideo, Uruguay, and Porto Alegre, Brazil, for deeper immersions into local cultures. She studied in Accra, Ghana, through Marquette’s Les Aspin Center for Government in Washington, D.C.

“Most people only see differences,” she says, “rather than the unity in differences.” • MM

Next big adventure — Studying Portuguese and preparing lesson plans for her future students. She also contacted previous Fulbright Award winners for suggestions of ways to adapt to life in Brazil.
A guiding principle in her life — “Once you learn, go and teach someone else.”

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