Padric Gleason, a Class of 2010 Wheaton alum, grew up on a farm in a small ethnically homogeneous town in Maine, where many people, he says, never venture out beyond the area. However, his parents had a broader view of the future they wanted for him.
“They encouraged me to explore other cultures and the world around me,” said Gleason, who currently lives in San Francisco, after completing his master’s degree in international business practice in Bangkok, Thailand.
That encouragement and the global experiences he gained while at Wheaton and since graduating have led to Gleason being awarded a Fulbright Binational Business Grant.
The grants are awarded to students who are interested in combining coursework in international business or law with an internship at a Mexico-based company conducting international or legal business. The goal is to enhance knowledge, expertise and understanding of post-NAFTA Mexico.
For Gleason, who began learning Spanish at age 12 and double majored in Hispanic studies and international relations, the Fulbright opportunity draws upon all of the cultural knowledge he has gained and allows him to apply it in a real-world setting.
“Living and working in Mexico will tie together my lifelong study of Latin American culture with my postgraduate business studies and professional background,” says Gleason, a former resident of Dresden, Maine.
“My first experience abroad was a cultural immersion experience in Merida, Mexico. For two weeks, I lived with a host family, studied Spanish and explored the local culture. This experience awakened an urge to continue exploring other countries, and I studied abroad twice while at Wheaton—in Spain and in Argentina. I also worked for two summers in Turkey. After graduation, I accepted an internship in the UK, before moving to Thailand.”
Gleason says the Fulbright will allow him to build on his academic and professional work experience. “This would bridge the gap between my undergraduate and graduate studies. It would provide an outlet for me to apply my knowledge of culture, language and business strategy. I am eager to connect my work experience with the broad understanding of Latin culture I garnered from my education.”
His interest in international business is an organic extension of his studies in international relations, he notes. As a student at Wheaton, he said he was inspired to learn more about the world through his courses and motivated by a curiosity to understand the forces of diplomacy and political economy.
He enhanced his studies with internships and volunteer opportunities with internationally-oriented organizations.
While studying abroad, he volunteered as a location coordinator for L.I.F.E. Argentina, a nonprofit working with youths living in socially marginalized and extremely impoverished areas. He led a team of volunteers and designed and delivered social and educational programs, including after-school mentoring, tutoring and sports.
He also worked for two summers at an English language summer camp in Istanbul, Turkey. At the Robert College Summer Program, which is administered through the Filene Center, he introduced students to new ways to communicate in English through sports and the arts.
Professor Darlene Boroviak knew Gleason for the four years he was at Wheaton, was his advisor for his major in international relations, and has kept in touch with him.
“Padric has a broad, cosmopolitan view of the world, and he is clearly someone who wants to be engaged with that world,” she says. “He has an extensive understanding of international relations and the meaning of globalization.”
She agrees that the Fulbright as the right next step for him, given his goals.
2012 Fulbright Scholar
Class of 2010
Major: Hispanic Studies, International Relations