Auburn student awarded Fulbright assistantship to teach in France

AUBURN РHelen Hunter Robertson, a senior in the College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts majoring in Foreign Language Education/French, has been awarded a Fulbright-French Ministry of Education Teaching Assistantship to teach in France for the academic year 2010-2011. Robertson will be placed in the Acad̩mie de Toulouse where she will be assigned to one or more schools in the region.

Each year the Fulbright Scholarship program and the French Ministry of Education allot 50 applications for the Fulbright-French Ministry of Education Teaching Assistantship. To be eligible for the award, the student completes a Fulbright Scholarship application which requires a detailed project proposal and personal statement. The applicant must also submit three letters of recommendation, a letter certifying fluency in French and an interview with the campuswide selection committee.

“I was highly impressed by Helen in the interview, as well as in her application materials,” said Ralph Kingston, assistant professor of history who served on the Fulbright selection committee. “We talked a good deal about time she spent in Paris and about her experience working with high school students learning French in Columbus. At one stage of the interview, I even switched to speaking French and she didn’t skip a beat. She was smart, motivated and keen to take what she learned at Auburn into the community.”

Robertson was the only student from Auburn to apply this year for the Fulbright-French Ministry of Education English Teaching Assistantship, but nationwide there are more than 500 applicants for 50 assistantships. The award is a monthly stipend of $1,200 per month, equivalent to that of a French citizen who is awarded a graduate assistantship.

“Helen Hunter had to demonstrate mastery of her subject matter, teaching French language, as well as demonstrate a commitment to teaching a diverse group of students,” said Paul Harris, associate director of the National Prestigious Scholarship Office. “In addition, she had to maintain a stellar grade point average and she had to show her involvement in extracurricular activities.”

Robertson’s letters of recommendation and the recommendations of the campuswide selection committee were of the highest regard, Harris said. Robertson also wrote a compelling personal statement. She plans to work with youth groups in France to add to the experience of living and working in another country.

(Written by Brittany Cosby.)

Contact: Paul Harris, (334) 844-8731 (, or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (