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Fulbright leads BW alumnus back to birth country

From Columbus to Colombia, Grant Cordle '23 is leaving his Ohio hometown behind to reconnect with his birth country for an opportunity that melds heartfelt emotion with cultural awakening and professional aspiration.

photo of Grant Cordle

For Cordle, the pathway to a Fulbright began 22 years ago in an orphanage in Bogotá. Though raised in the U.S. by parents who adopted him at the age of two months, Cordle's connection to Colombia was a kindred whisper that grew over time.

At BW, he double majored in Spanish and communication sciences and disorders. He immersed himself in cocurricular activities and built an impressive portfolio of skills, insights and experiences. In his senior year, he applied for a Fulbright English Teaching Award that would take him to Colombia. In April, he learned he was among an elite group of individuals named a Fulbright finalist. He leaves for Colombia in August.

A Bridge for Bilingual Learning

photo of Grant Cordle in soccer jersey

"I aspire to become a bilingual speech-language pathologist (SLP) and work with Spanish/English-speaking children," explained Cordle, who noted that only 6.2% of SLPs and audiologists identify as Hispanic or Latino.*

"From my perspective as a first-generation college student, I know that education, especially language education, opens new opportunities," said Cordle. "With the Fulbright, I hope to continue developing my Spanish competency and enhance my Colombian cultural knowledge. As an English teaching assistant, I will hopefully learn and practice language education techniques I can use in my future career as an SLP."

The service experience isn't Cordle's first in a Spanish-speaking country. In the summer 2021, he went to Cuenca, Ecuador, and volunteered at Fundación el Arenal, a nonprofit organization that provides educational services to at-risk children and teens. As a volunteer, he and BW student Kaylee McKee '23 helped youth with homework and projects focused on math and English. They also assisted with the local Rotaract Club in Ecuador by helping coordinate a book drive for an orphanage.

"Service in Ecuador taught me so much about the resiliency and heart of the people and enabled me to catalyze change within the community. It was doubly impactful to serve an orphanage, much like one I was in when I was a newborn," reflected Cordle about the opportunity.

"I am so thankful to Baldwin Wallace for the education and mentorship I received. After the Fulbright, I will return to Ohio to begin a master's program in speech-language pathology. I hope to both linguistically and culturally diversify the field and to be a bridge that leads children and adults to exciting learning opportunities."

*American Speech and Hearing Association

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