For graduate student Jeremy Fishman, completing Montclair State University’s industry-leading Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) master’s concentration was the first step toward achieving his dream of helping students from different cultures experience the western world.
Now, he’ll get to do just that halfway around the globe – all while making Montclair State history in the process.
The Glen Rock, New Jersey, native has been named a finalist in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and will accept the honor – the first student at Montclair State to do so in more than 50 years – and will be traveling to Taiwan as part of the prestigious international exchange program.
Scheduled to complete his graduate coursework in May, Fishman will be a graduate of Montclair State’s Teacher Education Program, one of the most highly regarded teacher preparation programs in the nation. It has been consistently recognized both nationally and regionally for its unique features, including its structure, partnerships and curricular emphases. Most recently, the University was named one of the top 100 institutions in the country in U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 “Best Graduate Schools” for education.
"When I applied to Montclair State University three years ago, I knew that I wanted to pursue a master’s in teaching after completing my bachelor’s degree in creative writing," he says. "I reflected on my teaching goals and I realized that I wanted an intimate, diverse classroom, where the confluence of current events and cultural exchange were constant.
"I applied to the Fulbright Program for professional development and to get a deeper understanding of the political relationship between Taiwan, China and the United States," he says of his decision to pursue the program. "I hope to bring back a foundational knowledge of Mandarin to better modify instruction for my future Chinese students. But overall, I hope to have an amazing time exploring a new country, meeting new people, and showing that no matter where you’re from, we are all still human after all."
The Fulbright Program is named for former United States Senator J. William Fulbright, who proposed legislation in 1945 that used post-war funding to promote international goodwill through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture and science. Since its inception, it has become the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.
Montclair State University has produced seven Fulbright Finalists in its 109-year history, and the institution has been involved with the program in various capacities. University faculty currently serve on Montclair State’s Fulbright Campus Committee, which interviews and evaluates all of the University’s applicants. Faculty have also received Fulbright Scholar Grants, and the University has enrolled 52 foreign Fulbright students across all colleges and schools.
"This year, we had three out of four applicants named semifinalist or finalist in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program competition, with Jeremy being named a Fulbright finalist," says Domenica Dominguez, the director of Study Abroad and International Programs and Montclair State’s Fulbright program advisor. "I think those results demonstrate that Montclair State provides a strong foundation for students who wish to pursue fellowships of this caliber. There is no better program for students who have an interest in engaging with people of other cultures than the Fulbright Program, and we are all so proud Jeremy has earned – and will pursue – this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Interested potential ESL teachers can also learn more about Montclair State University’s Teaching English as a Second Language MAT program offered through the College of Education and Human Services.