CRANBERRY TWP — A 2014 Seneca Valley High School graduate was selected for the Fulbright Program.
Daniel Wethli of Cranberry Township, a senior philosophy and Asian studies double major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is a Fulbright Research Grant recipient for study and research in the Hubei Province of Wuhan, China, and a recipient of the Critical Language Enhancement Award, also from the Fulbright Program.
Wethli, son of Robin and Ed Wethli, learned March 27 that he earned an award.
“It was an awesome feeling to see the work pay off,” he said. “And I know Fulbright is a really, really challenging award to receive. When I first got the email, I was like, 'Is this really the email?' It was really shocking to actually see it in my inbox.”
In China, Wethli will continue the honors thesis research he has been doing at IUP for 10 months on the Chinese Revolution of 1911. The Critical Language Enhancement Award will also offer him advanced study of Mandarin for four months.
“I'm doing research now with Chinese textbooks available here, but when I am in Wuhan, I will be able to do research where the revolution actually happened,” he said. “There are two museums in that region focused on the revolution, so I will be able to see, firsthand, China's perspective on the revolution.”
Wethli said the Fulbright Grant will cover all costs while abroad, from food, housing and transportation to research and education costs that will accrue as he audits classes in China.
“I thought this would be the perfect way to continue what I've done at IUP,” he said.
Wethli said the application process took about seven months and involved two main documents, a grant purpose statement and a personal statement.
“The personal statement was a little bit easier,” he said, “but I probably went through about 10 drafts of that too.”
Wethli said he feels “very lucky to have found out about the opportunity.”
“I think IUP has been a great place for me to have people to work with closely,” he said. “A lot of other schools don't give their students the time I think IUP teachers give their students.”
Michael Driscoll, IUP president, said the university is “very proud of Daniel.”
“When our students are selected for international competitive awards like the Fulbright, it speaks volumes about the quality of our students,” Driscoll said.
Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields through a competitive application and interview process.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest exchange program in the United States. 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. The program operates in more than 160 countries.