NEW YORK, May 9, 2007 – Jessica Tibbets, a graduating senior at The City College of New York (CCNY), has received a 2007-2008 Fulbright Scholars Award to study Arabic and learn about the deaf community in Yemen.
As part of her research, Ms. Tibbets will produce an ethnography and documentary about deaf people in Yemen to show to hearing and non-hearing people in Yemen and abroad. The Wichita, Kan. native is expected to graduate from CCNY magna cum laude June 1 with a B.A. in International Studies with a concentration in Culture and Communications.
“This is really exciting,” she said of her Fulbright award. “I spent six months in Yemen last year teaching English so that I could fund my stay while improving my fluency in Arabic and learning Yemeni sign language and I loved it. I can't wait to return to my friends there!”
“The award gives me an opportunity to continue my study of Arabic as well as my research and work with the deaf community in that country,” she added. “I started learning Arabic in my freshman year at City College and fell in love with it. That’s the main reason I went to Yemen last year.”
While there, she decided to apply for the Fulbright. Her application was backed by Yemen’s Ministry of Social Affairs, the Deaf Association in Aden and a research center in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital city. The three organizations provided the supporting letters required from all applicants by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, which administers the Fulbright Scholar Program.
Ms. Tibbets wrote her senior thesis on the possibility of a global sign language. She says she believes a more cohesive and broadly understood sign language would empower deaf people who currently use different methods of signing.
At CCNY, Ms. Tibbets received the Anne S. Kheel Scholarship from the College’s Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies. The scholarship paid her tuition since her junior year.
She also received the Winston Fellowship from CCNY’s International Studies (IS) Program for a study trip to Brazil in 2004 through Columbia University, and taught English in El Salvador in summer 2005 with the Presidential Scholarship. The latter was in conjunction with the school's International Studies “Service Learning in El Salvador” program. In addition, she was a member of the women’s soccer team and was named All City Player in 2005.
Currently living in the Bronx, Ms. Tibbets teaches Arabic to second graders at an After School Program at the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center and interns at AFS, a not for profit intercultural exchange program for high schoolers.
Ms. Tibbets says she chose to study at CCNY in 2003 because of the College’s highly regarded International Studies Program, beautiful campus and diverse student body. She plans a career in health care policy, particularly as it would benefit citizens of underdeveloped countries.
About the Fulbright Scholar Program
Established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the program’s purpose is to build mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. Fulbright Scholars are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement and demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. Among the thousands of prominent Fulbright Scholars are Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, Pulitzer Prize-winner poet Rita Dove and Craig Barrett, Chairman of the Board of Intel Corp.
About The City College of New York
For 160 years, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. Over 13,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Architecture, the School of Education, the Grove School of Engineering, the Center for Worker Education and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education.