Tag Archives: Fulbright Program

Fulbright for Posterity: The Ripple Effects of Fulbright on Rural America

“How about: It’s quality, not quantity?” my dad proposed, wearing a grin. We were brainstorming city slogans for Loyalton, California, my hometown of 800 people nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains—now named “the Loneliest Town in America.”  We all laughed. On the surface, country living seems like paradise, but in reality a myriad of issues affect rural communities across the nation. Employment opportunities are sparse, lower income leads to higher instances of poverty, and—consequently—there is a clear demand and absolute need for higher quality education.

Megan Meschery and her family in Spain, 2008 Fulbright program.

When the town’s sawmill closed in 2001, followed by a mass population exodus, Loyalton’s tax revenues declined rapidly and ancillary school programming disappeared with them. First, we lost music and art specials. Later, our middle school was condemned, and students were moved from portable buildings into the high school, losing their separate facilities entirely. In truth, it has only been through the extraordinary efforts of dedicated teachers and community members that our school district has been kept afloat: teachers like my high school Spanish instructor, Megan Meschery, who are determined to redefine our local community without much funding from state or federal agencies.

In 2008, Megan left for a Fulbright grant in Granada, Spain, where she examined how rural economic development funding provided by the European Union reduced inequalities in public schools regardless of geographic location. She sought to find parallels and lessons applicable to rural education in America and to develop ways to promote cultural awareness and growth in Loyalton. While Megan’s experiences rather highlighted the differences between U.S. and EU development models, Megan also returned from her two-year Fulbright burgeoning with ideas tailored to Loyalton’s situation, and immediately found ways to introduce positive change, starting with school electives.

The Sierra Schools Foundation sponsors hands-on learning opportunities like harvesting chamomile tea flowers in the Loyalton Learning Garden.

My favorite memories from high school are from the culture club she initiated, through which I saw my first Broadway play, Wicked, and visited my first classical art exhibit, featuring masterpieces from Rembrandt and Raphael. These experiences opened my eyes to the world beyond our tiny valley, and change did not stop there.

The following year, Megan founded a non-profit organization called The Sierra Schools Foundation (SSF – sierraschoolsfoundation.org) to combat inequality in the school district by providing grants for resources and programs such as the STEM Learning Garden, Local-Artists-in-the-School, Advancing to College SAT prep, and others. I volunteered with SSF throughout college, running fundraisers, where I witnessed firsthand how, with dedication and perseverance, local organizations genuinely have power to initiate positive change.

Niecea (right) and her mentor, Martina (left) in Lanškroun’s city square, Czech Republic, 2018 Fulbright program.

These formative experiences propelled me to apply for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in the Czech Republic for the 2018-2019 academic year, where I will be living in a rural community not unlike Loyalton, teaching English to secondary students enrolled in veterinary and agricultural programs. As an undergrad, I pursued a B.S. in Integrated Elementary Education with an emphasis in English as a Second Language with the primary goal of becoming an elementary school teacher in a high-needs, rural community in the United States. Now, I  am ready to go forward and learn from the students and families of my host country to explore new perspectives and pedagogies that will reshape the way I view myself and my role as an educator. The quantity of programs in Loyalton’s schools has stagnated, but the quality of our education can continue to blossom.

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2018 Fulbright Amizade Participants Interview West Virginia Community Leaders

By Fulbright Staff

 

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Program Update: Open Study/Research Grants for Master’s Degrees in Israel

Tel Aviv University Campus

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is pleased to announce that a master’s degree option is now available for the first time for applicants to Israel in the 2018-2019 application cycle. A total of eight Open Study/Research awards are available.

Candidates interested in pursuing a master’s degree in Israel now have the opportunity to enroll in a degree-seeking program at Tel Aviv University in one of several fields of study, including Conflict Resolution and Mediation, Middle Eastern Studies, and an International LLM in Security and Diplomacy Studies.

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Fulbright Amizade Participants Travel to Appalachia for Service Learning


Fulbright Amizade Participants Travel to Appalachia for Service Learning by Fulbright on ExposureFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Fulbright FLTAs Wish You a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The Fulbright Program between the U.S. and Ireland was established in 1957, making 2017 the 60th anniversary year.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs) made these short videos of their American students learning Gaelic or the Irish Language. This year there are nine Irish FLTAs teaching Gaelic in the United States. Overall, there are 396 FLTAs from 49 countries teaching 33 languages this academic year.

American students from Notre Dame, NYU, Idaho State University and University of Montana wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day – “Lá le Pádraig sona duit!”

Thank you to Irish FLTAs, Siobhán Ní Mhuimhneacháin, 2016-2017 Irish FLTA to Notre Dame, Eimear Kennedy, 2016-2017 Irish FLTA to NYU, Áine Ní Shuilleabháin, 2016-2017 Irish FLTA to Idaho State University, and Patrick John Seehan, 2016-2017 Irish FLTA to University of Montana for your work! Special thanks to the Fulbright Commission in Ireland for collecting the videos!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail