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Cornell College senior earns Fulbright scholarship

Will Dinneen, a Cornell College senior from Cheyenne, Wyo., has won a Fulbright scholarship to teach English to university students in Turkey—one of only 50 such scholarships awarded there through the U.S. Department of State.

Will Dinneen speaking at the Thomas Commons groundbreaking. Dinneen, a senior who’s been active across campus, earned a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Turkey.

Dinneen, a politics major, has long had a passion for Turkey, and that’s played out in his studies. After his sophomore year at Cornell, he spent the summer in Turkey as part of the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship Program. He also spent eight weeks during his junior year as a Cornell Fellow at a law firm in Hungary. As a senior he worked on an independent research project about the risks Turkey and Hungary are facing by re-writing their constitutions.

“I would not have had the confidence both intellectually and emotionally to apply for the Fulbright without my time as a student at Cornell,” Dinneen said. “The depth of the Cornell experience and my involvement in both curricular and co-curricular programs made me a very strong candidate. The expertise and personal support of my professors and advisors made my Fulbright application very competitive. Cornell made this Fulbright possible for me.”

Dinneen has been active on campus as well, serving as Student Senate president for 2011-12 and Student Senate Academic Affairs chair for 2010-11. He was a member of the Sigma Kappa Psi fraternity, the Mock Trial team and Cornell’s Concert Choir. In 2012, he went on the Alternative Spring Break to Maryville, Tenn. During his senior year he performed in his first Cornell Theatre production, “Company.”

Dinneen also spent a year in Turkey after his senior year in high school as part of the Rotary Youth Exchange Program.

Those visits convinced him to apply to the Fulbright Program. He hasn’t received his full assignment yet, but was told he’ll be teaching English to first-year university students at a developing university, likely in eastern or southern Turkey.

In addition to his teaching, he’ll have the chance to do research while there, he said.

Once the Fulbright is over, he’s considering graduate or law school, but for now he’s happy that he’s going to get to work in a country as vibrant as Turkey.

“I love Turkish culture and the Turkish people,” he said. “It’s really exciting.”

The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and was established in 1946 to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries, through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills. Dozens of Cornell College students have earned Fulbright scholarships, most recently Nic Wondra ’09.