By Steven Krolak
(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)—Jazmin Trejo Oliver, a graduating senior Honors Program student majoring in secondary education and Spanish, has been named a Fulbright Finalist by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Trejo Oliver is IU Southeast’s first Fulbright Finalist since 1999.
A resident of New Albany, Ind., Trejo Oliver attended Portland Christian School in Louisville, Ky. She is married to 2013 IU Southeast alumnus Blake Oliver, who teaches English at Highland Hills Middle School in Georgetown, Ind.
The award of the Fulbright grant, pending final submission of administrative papers and medical documents, enables Trejo Oliver to spend the next academic year as an English teacher assistant in Galicia, Spain.
During her time at IU Southeast, Trejo Oliver excelled in secondary education, finding great enjoyment in working with students in local schools during the practicums. She added Spanish as a second major when she discovered her love for teaching modern languages, a reflection of her profound appreciation for her Mexican heritage, for which she has her family to thank.
“Without them I would never have learned Spanish in the first place or known about my heritage,” she said. “I owe so much to them.”
This appreciation motivated her to apply for the grant, when it was suggested by Dr. Angela Salas, director of the Honors Program and interim associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.
Trejo Oliver credits the Honors Program, her “academic home,” with helping her find and sharpen her academic focus. According to Salas, Trejo Oliver also had a significant impact on the program.
“Ms. Trejo Oliver has contributed steadiness, intellectual balance and gravity to the Honors Program,” she said. “Her academic, intellectual and personal growth have combined to create in her a person who knows the value of true collaboration, true importance of steady and dedicated effort, and the true genius of humility.”
Trejo Oliver has also been active in the IU Southeast Writing Project (IUSWP) as an intern, assisting program directors in coordinating the Summer Institute, Advanced Institute and annual conference while polishing her own writing skills.
“Jazmin is a student who always performs well in the present but simultaneously has her eye on the future,” said Dr. Kevin Sue Bailey, professor of education and program director of the IUSWP. “She can keep several balls in the air at the same time, but since she has prioritized which ones to juggle, she remains focused and is agile enough to perform flawlessly.”
Trejo Oliver’s husband Blake will accompany her to Galicia. Both have been accepted to graduate school in Dublin, Ireland, she in modern languages and he in American literature, which they will begin upon completion of their year in Spain.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments, host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide.