Chace Pulley ’21 Wins Fulbright Award
Before starting law school at Columbia University next fall, the political science major is currently teaching English at the Universidad Cooperativa De Colombia in Villavicencio.
Next fall, Chace Pulley ’21 will be back in the classroom as a student at Columbia Law School. But this year, she is leading classes of her own in a different Colombia as the recipient of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in South America.
Pulley was selected for the prestigious Fulbright Program in the spring—one of only 60 people selected for ETAs in Colombia— and moved in August to Villavicencio. For the last month, she has been working at the Universidad Cooperativa De Colombia, teaching English classes, tutoring students, hosting conversation clubs, and giving talks about American culture—including one recent talk she gave to 140 nursing students about what a nursing career looks like in the U.S.
“There were a multitude of reasons that I wanted to apply for a Fulbright,” she said. “First and foremost, I wanted an opportunity to teach before going to law school. I’ve worked with students both as a teaching assistant and tutor and always loved it. As such, I wanted the opportunity to do so professionally. Second, since learning about the complex history of Colombia—and the climactic moment the country currently faces—at Haverford, I’ve always wanted to learn more. Finally, the chance to improve my Spanish through immersion and stuff myself with arepas were also big draws.”
As she suspected, Pulley loves living in Colombia. In addition to her work with students at the university, she has thrown herself into salsa, hip-hop, zumba, and yoga classes as a way to meet locals and make new friends. She has also taken advantage of Villavicencio’s natural surroundings, going on lots of hikes and seeking out hidden swimming spots in her free time.
“The city is affectionately known as ‘where the mountains meet the plains,’ and is famous for its llanero culture, which is somewhat similar to U.S. ranch and cowboy culture,” said Pulley. “Despite the fact that the only two seasons here are ‘hot and rainy’ and ‘hotter but with slightly less rain,’ I truly love it here. The city is surrounded by beautiful mountains to go hiking in and, unsurprisingly, the produce and beef here is delicious.”
Since her time at Haverford, the political science major and peace, justice, and human rights minor was accepted at Columbia as part of its Leadership Experience Admission Deferral (LEAD) fellowship, a special deferred-admissions program for incoming students who want two years to explore employment, fellowships, or other graduate studies before matriculating at law school. She spent last year at Tahirih Justice Center, via the Weil Legal Innovators Fellowship, working with Afghan human rights activists and students as they applied for asylum and writing a toolkit to help immigrant survivors of trafficking navigate the immigration process.
“My hope [for the future] is to leverage both my experience at Tahirih and my time in Colombia to pursue a career in the public interest sphere,” said Pulley. “Although what exactly that will entail is unclear, hopefully it will be at the intersection of my passions for immigration and combatting gender-based violence. However, if there is anything I have learned over the past year-and-a-quarter is that I love working directly with people. As such, I know I want to start my career in direct legal services.”
This past year wasn’t the first time she applied to the Fulbright Program—she was selected as an alternate last year—and Pulley wants her fellow Fords to know that just because they’ve graduated, doesn’t mean their Fulbright chances have ended.
“While I am loving my time here, my job requires an incredible level of flexibility, and making friends in Villavicencio requires shamelessly introducing myself to strangers despite a language barrier. I know this transition would have been dramatically different if I hadn’t already spent a year in the working world and building a community post-college in a new city,” she said. “Obviously everyone’s experience will be different, but I want to encourage Haverford students to not view your senior year of college as the last time you can apply for a Fulbright. If you don’t receive one your senior year, definitely consider applying again!”