Three SUNY New Paltz alumni have been awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarships—the highest number awarded in a single academic year in the College’s history.
“SUNY New Paltz is extremely proud that three of our students, Clare Profous, Andrew Ugolino and Jeremy Acevedo, have been recognized as Fulbright Finalists and will serve abroad as English Language Teaching Assistants,” said Center for International Programs Dean Bruce Sillner. “The awards recognize their hard work and academic achievements. We are confident that they will be excellent ambassadors, not only for SUNY New Paltz, but also for the United States.”
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for study and research projects or for English Teaching Assistant Programs, offering opportunities in over 140 countries to recent graduates and graduate students.
These honors add to the College’s strong record of helping students and alumni to access support for international study. New Paltz is a leader in the SUNY system in connecting students with opportunities including the Fulbright, the federally funded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and other valuable resources for travel abroad.
Congratulations are in order for the following New Paltz graduates, who will continue their careers and educations in locations around the globe with the support of the Fulbright Program:
Acevedo studied abroad in 2012 at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, where he got his first taste of teaching English to non-native English speakers.
“Studying abroad in Prague was the highlight of my undergraduate education,” Acevedo said. “I learned immensely about myself and what it means to be a global citizen, and that experience was deeply enriching and gratifying.”
As he travels abroad, Acevedo represents the SUNY New Paltz Honors Program and the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), which, in partnership with the Center for International Programs, has had great success in helping students from underrepresented and underprivileged backgrounds study abroad.
“Demographically, the odds were not in my favor to study abroad, but thanks to the Gilman and Fulbright Scholarships, I have been able to establish these lasting global connections,” Acevedo said. “I first learned about the Scholarships through EOP Advisor Clare Kelly-Barra, whose enthusiasm for these opportunities and how they empower minorities to study abroad inspired me to apply. I am a proud recipient of both.”
The Fulbright support enables Acevedo to return to the Czech Republic to work and study at a medical school in the city of Pilsen.
“I have career interests in healthcare, so I feel fortunate to have been placed at a medical school,” Acevedo said. “I am certain that the skills and experience I acquire from the Fulbright experience will translate well into the career I will build.”
Profous will use her Fulbright experience to build on international study experience at the University of Grenada, Spain in 2013 and at Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic during academic year 2014-15.
During her time at New Paltz, Profous, an Honors student, also took advantage of internship opportunities with the U.S. Department of State, at locations in Serbia, Ecuador and New York City.
“I grew up in New Paltz, and when I started studying at the College I had no idea how many amazing opportunities would open up for me,” Profous said. “I am so grateful for the support I received from the faculty and staff, particularly those in the Study Abroad Office and the Honors Center, who guided me through the application processes.”
As a Fulbright Scholar, Profous will teach English at a Madrid, Spain high school, and also plans to volunteer to provide language instruction at the nearby U.S. Embassy. The passion for international relations she demonstrated and developed through her internships goes hand in hand with her desire to teach English to residents of foreign nations.
“Working in both security and public diplomacy heightened my interest in promoting understanding between the U.S. and the international community by teaching English abroad,” Profous said. “I believe that living abroad is an important part of understanding how other countries view the U.S. and U.S. foreign policy.”
Andrew Ugolino ’15g (Second Language Education)
Ugolino first taught English abroad at a high school in Zhenjiang, China, in 2013.
“That was a great experience,” Ugolino said, “because I learned so much about a vastly different country, which reinforced my desire to be a teacher.”
Upon returning to the U.S. he enrolled in the College’s graduate program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). During his time in that program, he developed an interest in the experiences of migrant youth in the region, and built relationships with the faculty and partners of the College’s Mid-Hudson Migrant Education Outreach Program.
His acceptance to the Fulbright program is a testament to his passion as a language instructor, and the scholarship will support him as he teaches English in a new environment, at the University of Sucre, in Sincelejo, Colombia. He sees the experience as preparation for future work with the largely Spanish-speaking population of Hudson Valley migrant youth.
“I have always wanted to teach abroad in a Spanish speaking country,” Ugolino said. “This opportunity will help me to gain more teaching experience and greater proficiency in Spanish as I immerse myself in a fascinating culture and country. This program aligns seamlessly with my career goals, as well, and after my grant period I plan to continue working with English language learners in the Mid-Hudson Valley.”
These students’ success in being named Fulbright Scholars was supported in part by the Fulbright Campus Evaluation Committee, which included Dean Bruce Sillner, Study Abroad Coordinator Christian Wilwohl, Study Abroad Advisor Christian Speedling, Haggerty English Language Program Director Connie Perdreau and Chair of the Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures Mary Christensen.
“All three successful candidates had prior international experience through overseas study, internships and teaching, which demonstrates the impact that such experiences have in opening doors to opportunities like Fulbright,” Wilwohl said. “These students’ success provides another powerful reason for students to engage in a study abroad experience as part of their New Paltz education.”
More information about Study Abroad at SUNY New Paltz is available online.