Two Country Day Alums Share Their Fulbright Experience

It is no secret that Cincinnati Country Day School's rigorous curriculum and nurturing classroom environment encourages and guides students to embark on remarkable adventures after graduating. Two of those students are Fulbright Scholars Emily Sberna Uebel '03 and Grace Pettengill '17.

A Country Day lifer, Emily Uebel, fell in love with language and teaching while at Country Day and even more so in college at Washington and Lee University.

"I always really like languages – learning about them and discovering their nuances,” explained Uebel.“I succeeded in all my Spanish classes when I was at Country Day. I took more Spanish once I got to college, and I had always thought French sounded fun, so I signed up for French. Then saw that there was also Italian, so I said 'oh, I'll take some Italian classes.' At one point, I remember I was taking all three at the same time."

Once Emily realized she could major in Love Languages and a college professor told her about the Fulbright Program she knew she wanted to apply to the program to experience living abroad in Spain.

Uebel said that the sense of work ethic she gained while at Country Day helped her throughout her Fulbright experience.

"Having that small school experience, there's an expectation to work hard, to do the reading, do the homework, talk to the teachers," said Uebel. "It’s the expectation that you will always put forth your best and make that effort. There are no excuses to slack off when you have the resources to do well and the people there to support you.”

As a lifer, the daughter of two alumni, and the granddaughter of a former Head of School, Grace Pettengill is also no stranger to Country Day and the experience it provides.

Grace and Merle Black

Pettengill, like Uebel, chose to pursue the teaching track of the Fullbright Program and is teaching English in the Canary Islands.

"My education at Country Day and at Bowdoin College helped me think about what sort of experience I wanted to have throughout my life," said Pettengill. "Having that education, and then being able to come to Spain and learn about myself and the culture  is a wonderful opportunity."

Pettengill said she chose to teach in Spain because she loves learning about languages.

"I was interested in thinking about communication and how people learn languages, which is one of the reasons why I applied to Fulbright. In the future, I would like to go to medical school, so being fluent in Spanish could be an important skill to have," said Pettengill.

As a recent Country Day alum, Grace shared some advice for current seniors thinking about college.

"Try everything and do what you love, if you're doing what you love, and you're passionate about it, applying to college or programs like Fulbright is easier and exciting," she said. "Country Day makes it so easy to explore new things!"