Fulbright Fellows Will Teach in Taiwan and South Korea

Hard work pays off for Jackie Hardwick ’24 and Yumi Kang ’24, who receive prestigious fellowships

Yumi Kang '24, left, and Jackie Hardwick '24 will teach overseas for a year after winning prestigious Fulbright fellowships.
By Abigail Curtis Photography by Ashley L. Conti
May 8, 2024

Seniors Jackie Hardwick ’24 and Yumi Kang ’24 are preparing to spend a year overseas after winning prestigious Fulbright fellowships

The program, founded in 1946, gives recipients the chance to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and create connections in a complex and changing world. Hardwick and Kang join a robust tradition of Colby alumni who have won Fulbright fellowships. They earned the honor through hard work and experiences found both inside and outside the classroom. 

Hardwick, a global studies and East Asian studies double major from Jacksonville, Fla., who began studying Chinese as a middle schooler, is a QuestBridge Scholar—a program that connects exceptional low-income students with partner colleges. The Fulbright fellowship will allow her to travel to Taiwan and take a position as an English teaching assistant there. 

She’s excited about the opportunity to further her career goals and have a new global experience. 

“I want to explore either foreign policy work, diplomacy work, or public policy,” she said. “I think those are the fields where no matter where I end up, I’ll feel comfortable. And I also like education.” 

Jackie Hardwick ’24, a global studies and East Asian studies double major, has been awarded a Fulbright fellowship and will spend a year teaching English in Taiwan.

At Colby, Hardwick has served as communications chair for the Student Government Association’s executive board and a Colby Outdoor Orientation Trip committee leader. She’s been active in Students Organized for Black and Latinx Unity, the Womxn of Color Alliance, the Natural Hair Club, FLI@Colby, the College’s QuestBridge chapter, and the Colby women’s rugby leadership team.

She also spends ample time in the East Asian Studies Department. “I live on the fourth floor of Lovejoy. It is where I haunt,” she joked. “I think at this point I’ve probably taken a class from every professor in the department, and I love all of them.” 

Her slate of activities has earned her the unofficial moniker among other students as the “mayor of Colby.”

Off campus, and with the support of DavisConnects, she’s completed internships and study abroad experiences in Boston, Washington, D.C., London, and Taiwan, among other places. She’s supported immigrant youth organizing, helped create a virtual program to aid high school students apply to college, mentored students in Taiwan, and done public affairs research, media outreach, and communications work, among other activities. 

Exploring the world through these internships has given her a different perspective on current U.S. issues. 

“I really do value all my study abroad experiences, and I genuinely credit them with how my academic career and professional career has gone so far,” she said. “I’m DavisConnect’s number-one advocate.” 

Kang, a history and religious studies double major from Hopewell Junction, N.Y., is a Ralph J. Bunche Scholar at the College—a program that recognizes students for their demonstrated academic achievement, community involvement, and commitment to social justice and civic engagement. 

Through the Fulbright fellowship, she will travel to South Korea to work as an English teaching assistant. Kang is a first-generation Korean-American who was born in Korea and moved to the U.S. when she was young. She is looking forward to acting as a bridge between cultures, which is something she is passionate about. 

“As a Korean-American, I had two different identities that were sometimes in dissonance with each other and other times in symphony,” she said. “These are two cultures and societies that are just so close to my heart, and I would like to in some way bring them into conversation with each other.” 

Yumi Kang ’24, a history and religious studies double major and Fulbright fellowship awardee, will teach English in South Korea.

Kang was able to practice doing that last year while studying abroad at Korea University in Seoul, where she enjoyed her classes and was able to join the physical education department’s volleyball team. She loved that experience and hopes to build on it during her Fulbright fellowship year by coaching at the school where she winds up working. 

“I think that would be really cool because it’s just a completely different connection with the local community,” she said, adding that she’s also looking forward to teaching English. “I’m super excited to learn, and I’m super excited to teach them. I think it’s just a two-way relationship.” 

At Colby, she has followed her intellectual curiosity, which has led her to some surprising places. She started college with the intention of being a history and government double major and was committed to the idea of working for the State Department one day. But then, on a whim, she took a course called War and the Bible, taught by Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Kerry Sonia. She loved it, took more religious studies courses, and wound up changing her major. 

Down the road, after her Fulbright fellowship is completed, Kang is hoping to get both a law degree and a master’s degree in something related to religion. She appreciates that Colby offered her the chance to figure out what she wants to do. 

“I was able to have the opportunity to kind of drop the path that I was supposed to walk and take a different path,” she said. “Colby is so good in terms of that because we are a liberal arts institution. I would probably never have taken a religious studies class if I were at a different type of school.”