Derek Cantu Named Fulbright Fellow

(Photo by Duane Zehr)

By Matt Hawkins
April 9, 2014

Bradley senior Derek Cantu will cap his education with 10 months in Slovakia through the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program. The history secondary education major hopes to use the experience to launch a career in public policy.

Cantu will be overseas August 2014 to June 2015 with other Fulbright students.

“It blew my mind when I got it. This is going to send me out for a great career,” he said. “I thought this would be a great way to start my professional career and could parlay into law school or working with the State Department.”

Cultural engagement will be at the forefront of the journey. He’ll use his education background and knowledge from family trips across the U.S. to teach American culture. He’ll also actively seek learning experiences in Europe.

“I love seeing different cultures in the U.S.,” he said. “It will be interesting to compare cultures there when I travel.”

The Fulbright trip will be Cantu’s second off-campus learning experience. He previously spent the Fall 2012 semester working in the White House Office of Correspondence, where he assisted staff who read and responded to citizens’ mail.

With ventures like these available to students, Cantu felt the University offered a multitude of alternative learning programs.

“It’s a credit to a school like Bradley,” he said. “There are so many opportunities to take advantage of. It’s a good way to end my college career and start my professional career.”

Cantu's application was strengthened by working with Dr. Tim Conley and other faculty members from the University’s Fulbright Committee. Bradley was ranked sixth nationally among universities of its type for producing Fulbright students in 2013-14. Counting Cantu, five BU students have received Fulbright awards in recent years.

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 program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.

Students interested in pursuing a Fulbright award may begin working on idea proposals now. Applications for 2015 are due October 14, 2014. Contact Fulbright Committee member Dr. Jenny Tripses for more information.