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Alumni Ambassador Presentation, August 11, 2010
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Alumni Ambassador Presentation, August 11, 2010


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This slideshow features two Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors: Chaunetta Jones, South Africa- Study/Research & Mark Beasley-Murray, Brazil-ETA.

This slideshow features two Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors: Chaunetta Jones, South Africa- Study/Research & Mark Beasley-Murray, Brazil-ETA.

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  • 1. Fulbright webinar
    11 August 2010
  • 2. Today’s Fulbright Alumni webinar hosts:
    Chaunetta Jones
    Current City: New Brunswick, New Jersey
    Undergraduate Institution: Oberlin College
    Fulbright U.S. Student Fellow in Anthropology—South Africa, 2007-2008
    Mark Beasley-Murray
    Current City: New Haven, Connecticut
    Undergraduate Institution: University of Connecticut
    (applied to Fulbright as an alumnus)
    Fulbright English Teaching Assistant—Brazil, 2008-2009
  • 3. Where we went on our fulbrights
    Grahamstown, South Africa
    Eastern Cape Province
    Population: approx. 125,000
    known as the “City of Saints”
    host of the National Arts Festival
    Affiliation: Rhodes University
    & Raphael Centre
  • 4. Where we were
    Mark: For my Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, I was stationed in Piraí, a small, rural town nestled in the mountains just outside the city of Rio de Janeiro.  A partnership with UNESCO and a number of international foundations, corporations, national agencies, and NGOs, birthed Piraí Digital.  The town’s 500+ square kilometers are fully covered by municipally-offered wireless Internet service.  The municipality is piloting Intel’s low-budget Classmate laptops.  I worked there through The Sequoia Foundation’s English Language Learner (ELL) Project.
  • 5. What we did on our fulbright grants
    Refusal of HIV/AIDS treatment?
    Treatment adherence—
    choice between food or health
    How communities collectively
    negotiate illness
    photos courtesy of the Topsy Foundation
  • 6. What we did on our fulbright grants
    As part of The Sequoia Foundation’s ELL Project, I served as an instructional coach to area elementary school English language teachers, sharing the principles of bilingual, literacy, and foreign language methodology as well as preparing activity and assessment materials.  As there is a shortage of English language teachers in Brazil, I decided to take on the role of the primary English language teacher for 150 first through third grade students at Lucio de Mendonça public school in Piraí.  I also gave courtesy English classes outside of the ELL Project for older members of the community.  After my Fulbright grant, I was hired by the Foundation to develop a digital literacy curriculum for an Intel “One Laptop per Child” pilot project in Piraí.
  • 7. Why we chose fulbright
    Passionate about HIV/AIDS prevention and education
    Freedom to develop my own research project
    Cultural exchange and opportunity to learn new things
    beyond academic expectations
    Mark: Prior to winning my English Teaching Assistantship to Brazil, I worked as a Spanish teacher at Betsy Ross Arts Middle Magnet School in New Haven and as an ESL teacher and literacy coach at the New Haven Adult Education Center. The English Teaching Assistantship appeared to be a good opportunity to expand my second language teaching experience to include EFL. I also looked forward to working with students through The Sequoia Foundation on an afterschool digital literacy program. I chose Brazil because I have been fascinated with the the country since I first lived there as an undergraduate on a Gilman International Scholarship . As a Gilman Scholar, I studied Portuguese and anthropology at the Universidade Federal da Bahia and conducted the final leg of my research into the legacy of the black power movement on popular culture in New York, Havana, and Bahia.
  • 8. Highlights
  • 9. highlights
    Cultural Exchange
  • 10. highlights
    Impacting young lives
  • 11. Highlights
    Mark: Escola Publica Lucio de Mendonça, in rural southeast Brazil, where I taught English:
  • 12. Highlights
    Mark: I can’t resist the opportunity to share some of the work that resulted from the digital literacy project that I started and that was completed by Brian Camblin, a 2009 ETA who was also working for The Sequoia Foundation in Piraí. Check out the work of Selton, Maryelli, Thamiris, Pamela, and João Vitor – text translations, letters to the mayor on enivornmental causes, Power-Point slideshows child labor, proper nutrition, Brazilian cultural dances, and more – all quite remarkable.
  • 13. highlights
    Biodiversity, Stark Natural Beauty & Downtime
  • 14. highlights
    Cultural Exchange:
  • 15. What We do now
    Ph.D. Candidate, Anthropology; Rutgers University
    Ford Dissertation Fellow
    Fulbright helped to redefine my career path
    This summer I work as a policy research intern for the Connecticut Commission for Educational Achievement. I am also a graduate student in economics and education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Fulbright helped to propel me along my career path.
  • 16. Challenges
    How to give back
    How to uphold ethical/privacy standards
    Mark: The greatest challenge for me was negotiating my professional space. I had many masters: the principals of the schools where I worked, the director of the NGO where the ELL program was based out of, the Sequoia Foundation director, and Fulbright. Sometimes their individual needs conflicted and I was caught in the middle. Thankfully, all parties involved were understanding and reasonably accommodating.
  • 17. Application Tips
    1. My primary advice to Fulbright applicants would be to START EARLY! The process will take several months and it is very important to start working on the pieces of your application, particularly securing an affiliation, as early as possible. Also, I definitely recommend that applicants get feedback from their Fulbright Program Advisers (FPAs), professors and/or colleagues before submitting their applications.
    2. In the Statement of Grant Purpose, you really want to make clear why you have chosen to do your project and why that project is a great fit for the country you have selected. I think it is important to demonstrate that you have done your homework, understand your project’s specifics and any sensitivities involved.
    3. Think of the Personal Statement as a “narrative CV.” What about you, your academic training and unique life experiences make you the best person to carry out your project? These are the things that I think should be highlighted in your application, as well as the ways in which you demonstrate a commitment to promoting and enhancing cultural exchange. I would encourage applicants to be creative, but also make sure that your personal statement is honest and leaves readers with a true sense of why your project is important and who you are.
  • 18. Application tips
    Mark: I receive many questions from prospective Fulbright ETA applicants regarding the side project component of ETAships. Here are my two cents:
    First, do not underestimate the importance of your time outside the classroom. Since much of your time will be spent outside of the classroom, Fulbright application reviewers are curious to know what you might be up to the other quarter or half of your work week. This is an opportunity to show what you hope to gain from your experience and how you might contribute to your Fulbright host country. Second, keep in mind that the reviewers evaluating your Fulbright ETA application understand how difficult it is to describe a potential side project without knowing the particulars of your placement. Even though they recognize the difficulty of this task, they still expect you to be able to undertake it, however. Your ability to successfully describe an adaptable, worthwhile project will distinguish your application from other candidates with similar credentials who have not thoroughly thought through what they hope to accomplish. That said, it would be wise to heed the advice offered in the ENGLISH TEACHING ASSISTANTSHIPS: Developing the Statement of Grant Purpose section of the website: do not be overly specific or grand in your side project proposal. You may have a five-star, phenomenal, blockbuster idea for a research, vocational, or community service project. However, if the project is too location-specific or too involved, this may doom your otherwise strong application if it is seen as detracting from the primary focus of your grant – being an English teaching assistant. Third, know the range of possibilities in the country to which you are applying. These may vary considerably (as was the case in Brazil where I was an ETA). Your placement may turn out to be far from what you anticipated. It may be urban or rural, in an institution of higher education, in a primary or secondary school with access to educational materials and resources (or without), in one school or several, and so on. Often, the range and nature of ETA placements are described in each host country’s profile. Research those country-specific placements as best as you can. However, keep in mind that, if awarded the grant, you may end up piloting a new ETA placement, let alone one that hasn’t been listed yet on the Fulbright U.S. Student Program website. If you have a preference for a particular type of ETA grant, describe how your side project would fit well with that specific placement but would still be adaptable to other placements as well.Fourth, despite the uncertainty regarding your eventual placement, reviewers will want to be certain that you will be able to accomplish your proposed side project - regardless of the circumstances. While you should not to be too specific in your project proposal, this does not mean that you cannot outline the particulars of your project. Reviewers want to be able to envision your project as clearly as possible.
  • 19. Application tips
    For those who are considering a community group or school-related ETA side project, there are some universal points you may want to consider when writing your project description, such as:
    Is your project appropriate for the country to which you are applying? If so, why?
    How does the project align with your expertise?
    Who are the stakeholders in your project? If your project involves community members, how many participants do you aim to have? What is the age group? How will you attract participants? How does it benefit them?
    What are the resources necessary to undertake your project? (Physical location? Art supplies? Computers or Internet connection?) And how would you go about ensuring that these resource needs would be met or overcome? (Additional non-Fulbright funding? Personal out-of-pocket funds? Jettisoning an online component?)
    Where would the project take place? (In a school classroom? In a community center? In a park? In your host country apartment?)
    When and for how long would the project take place? (How many weeks? How many days per week? How many hours per day? Will the project coincide with your placement school’s academic calendar?)
    What will be the tangible outcome of your project? (Student projects? Theatrical productions? Artwork?)
    Who is the audience for your project? How large is that audience?
    How does your project promote the Fulbright Program’s mission of promoting cultural exchange and mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries?
    The list above is not exhaustive. Each project will have its own particulars. Also, remember that it is not necessary to address every one of these questions in your Statement of Grant Purpose (in fact, given the online application space limitations, this would be a Herculean feat). Still, you should clearly and thoughtfully describe the details of how you will spend your time outside the classroom.