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Senior Stewart Jones to Teach in Malaysia with Fulbright Award

April 18, 2012

DePauw University senior Stewart E. Jones is the recipient of an English Teaching Assistantship from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program competition and will spend the 2012-13 academic year teaching English in Malaysia.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and established in 1946, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program competition aims to increase mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchange while serving as a catalyst for long-term leadership development.

Jones becomes the third DePauw senior to receive a Fulbright award this spring. Sam Holley-Kline will conduct anthropological field research in Mexico in a project, "Ancient Pyramids, Modern Populations: Totonac Perspectives on El Tajín." Case M. Naziger will teach English to students in South Korea as a result of being awarded an English Teaching Assistant grant.

"I have found myself in various teaching positions throughout my life," Jones wrote in her Fulbright application. Her international experiences include spending last summer as an intern for a non-governmental organization, World Camps Inc., in Malawi, located in Southern Africa, where she taught in rural public schools, and she was a four-year volunteer for a non-profit organization, Fulbright Logo 09Workshops for Youth and Families. She also studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa.

"I have come to relish the idea of having the opportunity to teach English abroad," Jones stated. "I hope that ten months in a Malaysian high school classroom would give me an opportunity not only to teaching English writing, speaking, and grammar skills, but also to embark on the cross-cultural exchanges that come with any teaching experience, especially on the international level."

A sociology major and Honor Scholar, Jones' volunteer activities also include serving as a first-year mentor at DePauw and being the activities director for campus' College Mentors for Kids chapter. LGL5752"I have gained experience as a leader and mentor for adolescents ranging from 8-22," she writes. "Furthermore, in both positions, I gained the skills necessary to plan scholarship-based activities, organize and run these activities, and adjust accordingly when something inevitably goes wrong."

With plans to work toward a master's degree in international public education upon her return to the United States, Jones plans to create an after school club for female students as part of her Fulbright experience in Malaysia. "The basis of such a group would be self-expression through creative writing. Here, students could practice their English skills in a more comfortable and intimate setting. In both my domestic and international teaching experiences I invested additional time and energy into projects related to females in this age group. Thus, I hope to draw upon these various experiences and the knowledge I have gained from them in order to create a space where these students can sharpen their writing skills in a creative and different way."

Jones concludes, "I am not satisfied with the prospect of serving only those of my background of culture. I am powerfully drawn to the broader, more uncertain, but in the end more rewarding experience of working with people whose ancestry, culture, and environment are fundamentally different than my own. Stumbling through the process of working in and learning about a new culture is, as Howard Thurman put it, 'what makes me come alive.' Whether in a traditional classroom setting, or in the back of an overcrowded chapa, I have found great pleasure in the cultural exchanges that come from the pure joy of having the opportunity to learn from those you are teaching. I can think of no greater next step towards my future goals than to spend ten months doing just that in Malaysia."

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program competition is the largest American international exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide. It currently awards approximately 1,600 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in approximately 130 countries worldwide.

Fulbright full grants generally provide funding for round-trip travel, maintenance for one academic year, health and accident insurance and full or partial tuition. 

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided approximately 310,000 participants, chosen for their leadership potential, with the opportunity to observe each others' political, economic and cultural institutions, exchange ideas, and embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world's inhabitants. Learn more by clicking here.

DePauw University is listed among the "Top Producers of Fulbright Awards for U.S. Students, 2011-12" in the Chronicle of Higher Education. DePauw is the only bachelor's institution in the state of Indiana to appear on this year's list and was also cited as one of the USA's top producers of Fulbright Fellows in the publication's 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006 listings.

See the names of DePauw's Fulbright recipients here or visit the University's Fulbright page.

DePauw students and alumni who are interested in applying for Fulbright Awards may contact David N. Gellman, associate professor of history, or Marion "Marnie" McInnes, professor of English and women's studies and director of nationally competitive scholarships.

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