“It was really ‘St. Joe’s or bust’ for me. I didn’t want to go anywhere else, and now that I’ve met so many amazing faculty members and looked at how much I’ve grown as a writer and an individual, I know it was the choice for me.”
Brenna Ritzert ’17, an English major with a sociology minor from Chicora, Pennsylvania, has earned a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) position in Slovakia. After graduation, she’ll spend a year in the town of Trebišov teaching English to students at a local high school and representing the United States as a cultural ambassador.
“I’m so excited to take this new step in my life and see more of what the world has to offer,” says Ritzert.
The Fulbright Program is one of the most competitive scholarship opportunities in the United States. Approximately eight students per year are selected for the Fulbright ETA in Slovakia. Ritzert is one of the few to make it through Fulbright’s highly selective application process, which is based on academic excellence and personal accomplishment.
During her time as an undergraduate, Ritzert has racked up a number of achievements. In addition to working as a tutor in the SJU Writing Center, Ritzert manages the distribution of The Hawk student newspaper, plays on the women’s rugby team, earned acceptance into Sigma Tau Delta English honors society, and studied abroad in Tokyo, Japan, as a sophomore. Currently, she’s writing a 300-page novel as an independent study project.
While Ritzert has always been interested in writing, it was her love of tutoring English as a Second Language (ESL) students in the Writing Center that inspired her to apply for the Fulbright ETA.
“Every time I come back from a Writing Center appointment where I’m working with an ESL student, I always have this huge smile on my face and this sense of fulfillment,” Ritzert says.
Once she completes her placement in Slovakia, Ritzert hopes to pursue the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) SJU Program or an M.F.A. in creative writing.
A full profile about Ritzert is available on the SJU News website.