COE Science Education grad awarded Fulbright, will spend year in India

June 26, 2019


headshot of Jacob HelfA College of Education graduate student, Jacob Helf, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in India. In 2018, while studying under his major professor, Chris Schnittka, Ph.D., Helf also won the Mason Fellowship, given to just one pre-service science teacher in the state. In the summer of 2016, Helf joined a dozen other Auburn undergrads on a trip to the South Pacific, where he spent time studying language and sustainability on a small island in Fiji.

Like many aspiring teachers, Helf saw his best examples at home growing up.

“Both of my parents are teachers,” he said. “Dad was an AP Physics teacher at Homewood High School, and Mom is an elementary school reading specialist. My brother and I were both motivated by our parents to work hard and study at home, but I know not everyone has that kind of built-in support. I hope I can provide that motivation by having an inspiring, exciting classroom.”

Helf earned his undergraduate degree in December 2016. He was the graduate marshal of his class in interdisciplinary studies, in which he studied physics, hunger studies, and sustainability studies. In addition to his studies in Fiji, he also served as a resident assistant with the Office of University Housing and Residence Life. Helf went on to pursue his master’s degree in science education in December 2018. Helf will spend his Fulbright ETA in Dehradun, India, in the coming academic year.

“I could not be more excited for my experience in India,” Helf said. “It feels as though all of my studies, experiences and connections that I have made at the university have culminated in this opportunity, and I could not be more grateful for those individuals who have helped me pursue this dream. While in Dehradun, I plan to engage with my community in a variety of ways, including learning to cook local Indian dishes and leading after-school clubs for team sports such as soccer, as well as hiking in the beautiful mountains in northwest India.”

Here is a story we wrote about Helf last year, when he won the Mason Fellowship.

Congratulations Jacob! You make us proud.