History Professor Wins Fulbright Scholarship to Teach in Estonia
A Nebraska Wesleyan University history professor has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship that will take her to Estonia next year.
Meghan Winchell, Associate Professor of History, will teach U.S. women’s and African American history at Nebraska Wesleyan’s sister school — the University of Tartu — during the 2011-2012 academic year.
“At this point in my career, I am eager to apply my talents and skills to an international teaching experience in Estonia as a Fulbright Scholar,” said Winchell.
The Fulbright Scholarship Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.
In addition to teaching, Winchell plans to mentor graduate students who are completing U.S. history research projects. She also hopes to work with professors at the University of Tartu as they build a gender studies program.
“Having the opportunity to teach African American history to Estonian and international students will help me see how those outside of the United States perceive race relations in this country,” Winchell wrote in her Fulbright Scholarship application. “It might also cause those students to reconsider race and ethnic relations in their own country.”
Winchell has taught at Nebraska Wesleyan since 2004. She teaches courses in post-1877 U.S. history, U.S. women’s history, and African American history. She also teaches a popular Liberal Arts Seminar called “Decoding Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” which helps first-year students decipher the meaning of the television show by pairing several episodes with historical events.
Winchell is also the coordinator of the state’s History Day Contest and is the author of “Good Girls, Good Food, Good Fun: The Story of USO Hostesses During World War Two.”
In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Winchell hopes to help establish a program that will ease the transition for international students who study at the University of Tartu. Winchell said creating a program similar to Nebraska Wesleyan’s I-Pal Program, which pairs NWU students with new international students when they arrive on campus, would improve the experience of NWU students studying in Estonia. Four NWU students study in Estonia each semester as part of the sister school agreement.
Winchell said her family is excited about the year ahead. Her husband, a carpenter who builds cabinetry and furniture, plans to learn about Estonia’s woodworking traditions, and her children will enroll in an Estonian school and will learn a second language.