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Academic Lens: Blair Southworth '09 Fulbright Scholar

Blair Southworth’s journey at Proctor began long before most of her Class of 2009 classmates. Born to Alex and Peter Southworth, current English teacher and soccer/lacrosse coach, while they were dorm parents in Johnson House, Blair grew up on Proctor’s campus. During her time as a student at Proctor, she distinguished herself as a tremendous soccer and lacrosse player, and an artist who spent hours in Slocumb Hall. Her journey then took her to Connecticut College.

While at Connecticut College, the environmental studies major has taken full advantage of the opportunities the school has provided, taking part in the “Teach Away” program and spending a full term teaching English in Hanoi, Vietnam. Now that graduation from Connecticut College is behind her, Southworth has the opportunity of a lifetime as she prepares to travel to Jakarta, Indonesia as a Fulbright Scholar where she will teach about climate change and its impact on Indonesian culture.

Blair noted in a recent Connecticut College press release, “I expect many aspects of this coming year to be demanding. It’s daunting to know that I will be pushed and challenged in unique ways, but it is also one of the core reasons I chose to do a Fulbright.” In a recent conversation back on Proctor’s campus, she added, “I think I am most excited for the sense of adventure and challenge that accompanies going to a completely foreign culture and country. I am excited to teach in a classroom, and to form relationships with my students and the community I enter. At this point, there is so much I don't know about what is to come. This is the feeling that has always made me passionate about exploring the world, and the reason that I am scared and nervous, but overwhelmingly motivated to take the leap.”

This passion for exploration has been fostered over a lifetime, but certainly has roots in her four years as a Proctor student, “The relationships I made during high school and prior through all of my fac brat years have continued to be some of the most inspiring and influential of my life. Proctor is a community full of role models. George Emeny comes to mind, and I only hope that going forward I can embody a fraction of his passion and zest for life. I have been lucky enough to travel and work in many different places, but each time I come back to Andover and the Proctor community, it is really like coming home.” Her father, Peter, adds, “I see much of her desire to travel and be involved in field science originally nurtured during her term on Proctor’s Mountain Classroom. Her term studying in Vietnam with 15 Conn College students gave her the chance to use the communication & group living skills from Mountain Classroom.”

What is abundantly clear is that Blair possesses the kind of confidence, sense of adventure, and desire to positively impact the community around her we hope each graduate takes with them as they move on from Proctor. That confidence is evident in her simple willingness to apply for the Fulbright Scholarship. She notes, “I became interested during my junior year when in one of my activism classes when a dean came to advocate for the opportunity. It immediately struck my interest. I had never been very sure of the career or immediate post grad path, and a Fulbright seemed an excellent way to gain experience teaching and knowledge of another country through a respected and accredited institution. I began meeting with Dean Dreher, the Dean of Fellowships and Scholarships, last summer and worked with her through the fall on my application. For a very short application, it took the edits and comments from countless teachers and friends to reach the final product. I was ‘endorsed’ by the New York City Fulbright headquarters and then became a finalist for my country of interest, and eventually received the award.” Blair adds, “I am so honored to have received a Fulbright. Beyond my own academic journey, this opportunity comes as a product of all the support and encouragement I have received over the years, especially from my teachers, coaches, mentors and friends at Proctor. For this, I am incredibly thankful.”

Congratulations to Blair on this outstanding achievement and we cannot wait to hear updates from Indonesia over the coming year!
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  • Karin Clough
    Amazing! I know it will be wonderful for both you and your students. Congrats!
Located in  Andover, NH,  Proctor Academy is a private coeducational day and boarding school for grades 912. Students benefit from a rigorous academic program, experiential off-campus programs, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.
204 Main Street  .  PO Box 500  .  Andover, NH 03216
p. (603) 735-6000   f. (603) 735-6300