SJU Fulbright Students Make a Difference around the Globe
Six St. John's University students have been selected to conduct research and teach overseas as recipients of Fulbright Student Grants. The students will teach in countries across four continents while participating in cultural exchanges that are a hallmark of the Fulbright experience.
"St. John's University continues to send our Fulbright grant recipients out into the world to fulfill not only the mandate set forth by Senator Fulbright, but our own Vincentian mission, which is completely in line with the spirit of this exceptional program," said Robert Mangione, Ed.D., R.Ph., provost. “My hope is they will use what they learn overseas to improve conditions back home and share what they have learned at St. John’s with the wider global community.”
Operating in more than 155 countries, the Fulbright Program is one of the world's preeminent sponsors of educational grants. It was established by US Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946 to build international understanding through the exchange of people, knowledge, and skills.
Blaise Bennardo ’12G
Blaise Bennardo ’12G will teach English in secondary schools throughout Malaysia. “Due to my interest in the country’s diverse blend of ethnicities, particularly Malay, Chinese, and Indian,” he noted, “I am eager to treat the classroom as a cultural learning space in which histories, identities, and passions can be creatively shared.”
He plans to use sports to break down cultural barriers and promote understanding. “I will introduce the ‘tricky’ English language by organizing basketball games to teach sports slang,” he explained. “This will be an integral component of my ‘English Camp’ curriculum.”
As an undergraduate, Alexis Kedo ’15G tutored seventh-grade students in Cape Town, South Africa, and for the past two years she taught special education high school students at a high-needs school in the Bronx. Her Fulbright experience will take her to Kenya.
“There’s a need to develop highly specialized yet low-cost ways of assisting diverse groups of struggling learners,” she noted. “I have an interest in sub-Saharan Africa, and I enjoy teaching adolescents. The opportunity to teach secondary school students in Kenya seemed like a natural fit.”
Katherine Hromadka ’15C
Katherine Hromadka ’15C will work as an English teaching assistant in Argentina. A dual major in French and Spanish, she studied in Argentina during the summer of 2012 as part of St. John’s Global Studies program. “Argentina intrigued me with its colorful history and diverse topography,” she said. “My study abroad experience motivated me to return to this country that I feel so passionate about in order to further my knowledge and understanding of such a beautiful culture.”
Elizabeth Walsh ’13G
Elizabeth Walsh ’13G will travel to Hungary. She has spent considerable time teaching students who are not fluent in the English language. She has focused on aspects of “intangible cultural heritage”—the oral traditions, performing arts, and social practices that help shape indigenous cultures. “I spent last summer working with curators at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage on the 2014 “Intangible Cultural Heritage” Symposium and the Folklife Festival,” she said. “My passion for English literature and language—and my newfound love for intangible cultural heritage—led me to pursue the Fulbright.”
Daniel Kelly ’16D.A.
Daniel Kelly ’16D.A., who will travel to Turkey, credits St. John’s faculty, especially Konrad Tuchscherer, Ph.D., associate professor of history and Fulbright advisor, for helping him secure the Fulbright. “It's very rewarding,” he said. “I'm living proof that perseverance, and going after what you want will eventually pay off.”
Alexis Kedo ’15G
As an undergraduate, Alexis Kedo ’15G tutored seventh-grade students in Cape Town, South Africa, and for the past two years she taught special education high school students at a high-needs school in the Bronx. Her Fulbright experience will take her to Kenya. “There’s a need to develop highly specialized yet low-cost ways of assisting diverse groups of struggling learners,” she noted. “I have an interest in sub-Saharan Africa and I enjoy teaching adolescents, so the opportunity to teach secondary school students in Kenya seemed like a natural fit.”
Tynisha Brice ’15C
Tynisha Brice ‘15C is traveling to Brazil, and will also serve as a teaching assistant. “I saw it as an opportunity to immerse myself in a country that was new to me, where I could further my language studies while learning about a new culture.” She added, “I hope that I will return home from Brazil with a deeper understanding of its complex history, and hopefully it leads me to teaching paths I have never explored or considered. I want to continue teaching in foreign countries, and I believe this opportunity to teach is the first step.”