For the first time ever, two students and an alumna of Montclair State – a record number – are among 2,100 Fulbright grant recipients getting ready to teach English in other parts of the world.
In April, graduate students Treasa Praino and Stephen Campbell, and alumna Meghan Marino, a 2016 graduate, were awarded the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program English Teaching Assistant grants – the largest number of Fulbright finalists in a single year for the University.
The U.S. Student Program is dedicated to promoting goodwill and mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. “Treasa, Stephen and Meghan will be wonderful ambassadors for both the United States and Montclair State,” says Director of International Engagement Domenica Dominguez.
“My goal is to motivate my students and to provide them with the same positive, memorable experience that my most beloved teachers have given me.”
“This record number represents both the extraordinary talent of Montclair State students and alumni as well as the University’s commitment to fostering intellectual discovery,” Dominguez says. “As a designated ‘Research 2 doctoral university,’ Montclair State provides an excellent foundation for our graduates to engage with the wider world as scholars, teachers and leaders. Additionally, our supportive campus culture contributes to the success of our Fulbright applicants.”
An immersive experience
This year, Marino has been taking an intensive German language course in Germany to ensure that she will be a more effective communicator with both students and teachers when she begins teaching English to students in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, in September.
After-school American movie nights and sports nights, as well as an English creative writing club, are among her plans for giving her students an immersive language experience.
“My goal is to motivate my students and to provide them with the same positive, memorable experience that my most beloved teachers have given me,” she explains. “I hope to inspire them to want to travel or study in the U.S.”
Promoting cultural understanding
Come January, Praino, who will earn her Master of Arts in Teaching in December, will head to South Africa to teach English to high school and university students. “I’ll also be implementing several community projects to help make a more direct connection between Americans and South Africans,” she says.
On previous travels to South Africa, she fell in love with the country.
“I’m excited to return to learn even more about its people, wildlife and this time, its education system,” she says.
Praino welcomes the opportunity to “not only help my students, but also to expand my own knowledge of teaching diverse learners and to engage in one of the most exciting and memorable experiences of my life.”
Connecting with his heritage
“Growing up as a Malaysian American who has never visited Malaysia before, I’m excited about being able to experience my culture in its own setting while also sharing my experience of growing up in the United States,” says Campbell, a 2018 graduate who will receive his Master of Arts in Teaching in May.
From January to November 2020, he will teach English to Malaysian secondary school students. For Campbell, who studied linguistics and French as an undergraduate, the Fulbright allows him to combine his passions for languages and teaching. “Though growing up bilingual in English and Malay, I’m looking forward to using and improving my Malay,” he explains. “I’m hoping this will help me better acclimatize to the new environment and help me connect with my students on a deeper level,” he says.
A flagship program
Operating in more than 160 countries worldwide, the Fulbright Program is the flagship international exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. Recipients of Fulbright grants – named for former U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright – are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. Fulbright alumni have distinguished themselves in numerous fields and include 59 Nobel Prize winners; 84 Pulitzer Prize recipients; and 37 who have served as heads of state or government in their home countries.