BYU-Idaho teacher receives prestigious fellowship


BRIAN FELT | Courtesy Photo

Brian Felt, a professor in the Department of Languages and International Studies, has been awarded the Fulbright-Hayes Fellowship. Felt will be traveling to St. Petersburg, Russia, and attending classes at Herzen State University as part of the fellowship.

The Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Fellowship provides grants to support overseas projects in training, research, and curriculum development in modern foreign languages and area studies for teachers, students, and faculty engaged in a common endeavor, according to the U.S. Department of Education website.

The Fulbright-Hays Fellowship is the most prestigious in its discipline, said Denise Merrill, office assistant for the Department of Languages and International Studies.

Felt studied at BYU and received his B.A. with a double major in European studies and Russian. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Slavic languages and literatures from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Felt said he decided to apply for the fellowship to improve his language skills. He said staying current in the language is an important part of teaching and that spending time in Russia would be a great way to do that.

“The application process involved letters of recommendation, essays in Russian, background information about my Russian teaching experience and a personal statement about how this fellowship would benefit both me and my university,” Felt said.

Felt said the fellowship will directly impact his teaching.

“I teach mainly Russian language courses, and improving my language skills will allow me to be much more accurate in teaching the language to my students,” Felt said. “Having a better sense of what life is like right now in Russia will allow me to teach my students more about Russian life and culture.”

Felt said he thinks many students downplay their own chances for similar opportunities.

“My advice is, apply,” Felt said. “You’ll never get chances like this unless you apply.”

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