Willamette Spanish major wins Fulbright

Lily Busher ’11 didn’t expect to return to Spain so soon — she studied there for a semester last spring — but thanks to the encouragement of her friends, family and advisors, she will soon head back to the Mediterranean.

Busher, a Spanish major, was awarded a Fulbright Grant for U.S. Students that will allow her to become an English teaching assistant in Madrid.

The Fulbright program aims to foster mutual understanding among nations through education and cultural exchanges. Each year the program allows Americans to teach English, conduct research or creative projects, or do graduate work in more than 150 countries.

In the last decade, 25 Willamette students and young graduates have earned the award, including three this spring.

Busher, who studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain, says she is excited to return to work in a variety of capacities with Spanish students. Along with teaching English, she will help facilitate the Model United Nations, a program she has been involved in for two years at Willamette.

Opportunity of a lifetime

“It didn’t even occur to me to apply for scholarships like the Fulbright,” Busher says. “Without people like Monique Bourque in Student Academic Grants and Awards and my advisors, I would have never believed I was qualified. I’m grateful to everyone at Willamette who supported me.”

She initially planned to volunteer with Peace Corps in Latin America immediately following her graduation, but has now suspended her acceptance to the program until after her time in Spain.

“I said to myself, ‘This is my chance,’” she says. “To go abroad, to work with students, to share the knowledge I have, and to push myself.”

Saying goodbye

“Leaving Willamette is like leaving home,” Busher says. “It has been such a comfortable, welcoming place, and I’ll sorely miss it.”

But she’ll leave a legacy behind her. Along with Model UN, Busher played trumpet in both the University Wind Ensemble and Trumpet Ensemble; was a member and leader in Delta Gamma sorority; and was a four-year member and president of the Student Alliance to End Fistula.

She says that the close-knit community has been her favorite aspect of campus life, and has provided her something that she’ll strive to find wherever she travels.

“I love being able to walk through campus and smile at both people I’m best friends with and people I don’t know at all,” Busher says. “The community on this campus is astounding.”

For more information about national scholarships for students, visit Student Academic Grants and Awards.