CHICAGO, IL (January 11, 2011) – Junior Aaron Nilson has received a prestigious Fulbright scholarship, North Park University announced Friday.
Nilson is the son of Mark Nilson, senior pastor of First Covenant Church in Seattle, Washington, and his wife, Robin. He is the fifth North Park student to receive the honor in the past four years.
The Fulbright Scholarship Program is an international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Government. It is designed to increase understanding between people in the U.S. and other countries.
Nilson is one of 20 Fulbright English teaching assistants who will travel to São Paulo, Brazil, for a five-day training session. He will then be assigned to either a bi-national center or a teacher’s college, where he will teach English and acquaint students with U.S. culture.
Recipients are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.
Nilson’s academics as well as his passion for serving others earned him the scholarship. He is a Spanish and global studies double major. He began taking Portuguese classes last September, pursuing a particular interest in Brazil.
“These programs at North Park University have afforded me the opportunity to learn Spanish and to study abroad in Mexico,” Nilson said. “They have also permitted me to consider broader themes uniting the different people of the world linguistically, religiously, economically, and politically.”
He also has worked with refugees and immigrants through the Heartland Alliance, a Chicago-based human rights organization. Nilson said his experience helping people transition to their new culture made him even more sensitive to the need for alleviating miscommunication and misconceptions.