Marco Barcenas-Consuelo and Isabela Keetley

Two 2023 grads receive prestigious Fulbright awards

May 12, 2023

Student Experience

As they pack away their caps and gowns, two Class of 2023 Spiders will be packing their suitcases and heading to the Iberian Peninsula. Marco Barcenas-Consuelo and Isabela Keetley are making plans to teach and learn abroad with support from Fulbright.

The Fulbright Program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries through educational exchange. Both Barcenas-Consuelo and Keetley received English Teaching Assistantships, which place them in classrooms abroad to assist local English teachers.

"The Fulbright ETA is a wonderful fit for Richmond students who are interested in learning about other cultures while also serving as cultural ambassadors,” said Dana Kuchem, director of the Office of Scholars and Fellowships. “Fulbright student scholars engage in international study that fuels their academic, professional, and personal development.”

Barcenas-Consuelo, from Round Lake Beach, Illinois, will travel to Portugal to complete his Fulbright. He will assist in the Department of Languages and Cultures at Universidade de Aveiro, helping the university establish its learning curriculum and teaching students English. He will also conduct a research project on immigration and language learning.

“My goal is to help share immigrant perspectives on learning a new language and integration within society, said Barcenas-Consuelo, who majored in cognitive science and linguistics. “It means a lot to be able to share my experience as a Mexican American with an international cohort. I also love being able to teach others a new language and open doors through cultural and linguistic exchange.”

During his time at Richmond, Barcenas-Consuelo focused on languages, including conducting research on the Spanish language as it related to social factors and the study of how words are formed. He speaks Spanish, Portuguese, and French and previously studied abroad in Brazil.

Keetley, from Phoenix, Maryland, will teach English in Madrid for her Fulbright. She will spend nine months teaching social studies, science, and history and run the model UN club at a high school outside of Madrid’s city center.

“I have always been interested in global citizenship and developing a strong cross-cultural understanding,” said Keetley, who majored in leadership studies and minored in business administration and Latin American, Latino, and Iberian Studies. “I believe my time in Spain will be invaluable in working toward these goals and will challenge me to think and view the world around me from a new perspective."

She previously studied abroad in Madrid and hopes to pursue a career in international development or government consulting.

Earlier this year, UR was included on the list of U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most Fulbright U.S. Students for the fifth year in a row. The University of Richmond has had 80 student Fulbright grant recipients.