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Scholar Spotlight: Elizabeth Folkers

School: University of Iowa || Major: Ethics & Public Policy

Eliz­a­beth majors in Ethics and Pub­lic Pol­i­cy (Spe­cial­iza­tion in Sex­u­al­i­ty and Gen­der in Social Sys­tems), Span­ish, Latina/​o/​x Stud­ies Minor, and is on the Pre-Law track. Eliz­a­beth has stud­ied abroad and trav­eled to many Span­ish speak­ing places. She also took her favorite class while study­ing abroad. Scroll to find out what her favorite class was and more about Elizabeth!

What oppor­tu­ni­ties or expe­ri­ences have you been able to take part in that you might not have been able to with­out the scholarship?

Thanks to the schol­ar­ship, I was able to study abroad. As a Span­ish major, trav­el­ing to a Span­ish-speak­ing coun­try is vital to solid­i­fy flu­en­cy and learn about the country’s cul­ture. I stayed for eight weeks in San­ti­a­go, Chile, one week in San Pedro de la Ata­ca­ma (in north­ern Chile) and spent week­ends in Val­paraí­so (on the coast), and Pun­ta Are­nas (which is in south­ern Chile and near Tier­ra del Fuego). I also had an oppor­tu­ni­ty to vis­it Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

With­out the Bright Schol­ar­ship, I would nev­er have been able to save enough to finance these addi­tion­al learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. Study­ing in Chile was my first and only expe­ri­ence (thus far) out­side the Unit­ed States. My mom always tells me how lucky I am to trav­el more than the rest of my fam­i­ly, and I am very grate­ful to the Bright Foun­da­tion for the opportunity. 

What is your favorite class and why?

My favorite class so far has been Dances of Latin Amer­i­ca, which I took while study­ing abroad. This class intro­duced me to sal­sa danc­ing and bacha­ta, which I con­tin­ued when I came back to Iowa through the Iowa City Sal­sa Prac­tice Group, our college’s sal­sa club, and by attend­ing danc­ing events around town. It gave me a new hob­by and a way to meet peo­ple. I’m sure it will con­tin­ue to bring me joy long after I graduate.

What advice would you give to an incom­ing freshman?

Find a com­mu­ni­ty that you can grow in and a place where you can seek com­fort, val­i­da­tion and accep­tance. For me, this meant sur­round­ing myself with oth­er first-gen­er­a­tion stu­dents in both TRiO and my soror­i­ty, alpha Kap­pa Delta Phi, Inter­na­tion­al Soror­i­ty, Inc. These orga­ni­za­tions remind­ed me of home and helped me gain under­stand­ing from peo­ple with sim­i­lar back­grounds about my expe­ri­ences at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Iowa.

What’s the best food on campus?

My favorite food on cam­pus is the pota­to soup at Burge Res­i­dence Hall. It reminds me of the pota­to soup my dad makes at home in the wintertime.