Lexi Kerstetter Receives Fulbright Award, Will Spend Year in Taiwan

Lebanon Valley College biology major Lexi Kerstetter

Lexi Kerstetter ’21 was named a Fulbright finalist and will spend the upcoming year in Taiwan as an English Teaching Assistant. Kerstetter is the third LVC student to earn a Fulbright award this year, joining Robbie Moul ’22 and Julia Resele ’22. Twenty-four LVC students have received Fulbright awards, including 14 since 2016. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.

A biology major who transferred to LVC from Lehigh Carbon Community College, Kerstetter earned her degree in December and is working full-time as an EMT with First Aid & Safety in Lebanon.

“I’ve lived in a small town my whole life, and rarely did I ever come across an instance of a language or cultural barrier in my community. The lack of diversity has led me on a journey to understand and explore diverse cultures and languages around the globe,” said Kerstetter. “I think what sparked my interest the most is knowing that I could be part of a group that strengthens the English language for generations to come. I don’t think people realize how privileged it is to know English and not be afraid of a language barrier.”

Kerstetter has traveled on vacation to Mexico and Turks & Caicos and eagerly awaits her year abroad. As a science student herself, she’s especially interested in the strong STEM focus in Taiwanese schools.

“I’m most excited to see how their community functions and how their culture is different from the U.S.,” said Kerstetter. “While in the classroom, my role will primarily focus on teaching English language skills. I also look forward to incorporating and inspiring my students with my passion for STEM.”

As an LVC student, Kerstetter served as a first-year mentor to incoming students and credits that experience for breaking her out of her comfort zone.

“I started the week with strangers and finished the experience with a room full of friends. I don’t think I hesitated on the Fulbright scholarship because of this reason,” she said. “Although I am taking a larger step by traveling abroad and meeting new people, the First-Year Mentor Program strengthened my leadership and gave me new skills that I can use for a lifetime.”

Kerstetter also spent a semester interning with Lebanon Valley Volunteers in Medicine, an organization that treats patients who are uninsured and require financial assistance with ongoing access to health care. She shadowed nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians while they performed routine exams.

When Kerstetter returns from her Fulbright year, she plans to apply to a Physician Assistant Program and pursue a career as a pediatric physician assistant. 

“I believe that my experiences in Taiwan will enable me to recognize better cultural barriers between medical professionals and underserved individuals, which will, in turn, allow me to provide better advocacy for my future patients.”

 

Students interested in applying for the Fulbright Program should contact Dr. Philip Benesch at benesch@lvc.edu.