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Fulbright Award Sends Shay Laws '08 to Lithuania

August 2, 2011

100256August 2, 2011, Greencastle, Ind. — Shaylyn "Shay" P. Laws, a 2008 graduate of DePauw University, will spend the upcoming academic year in Lithuania teaching English. She has been awarded an English Teaching Assistantship grant through the 2011-12 Fulbright U.S. Student Program competition.

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.

Laws is the fourth member of the DePauw community to be awarded a Fulbright grant this year. As previously announced, Chelsey E. Jonason '11 will spend nine months assisting teachers in Slovakia during the upcoming academic year through an English Teaching Assistantship grant. Ashlee L. Anton '11 will use an ETA award to travel to South Korea to teach English to high school students in Madrid. Kyle K. 63007Inman '11 is the recipient of a Fulbright-mtvU Fellowship and will use the grant to conduct an independent research project in Northern Ireland.

"I began my teaching career in the classroom as a Teach For America corps member in a limited English speaking school while simultaneously earning a Masters of Education with an emphasis on special education," notes Laws.  "Over the past three years, I have researched, practiced, and reflected on high quality educational programs and strategies for all learners ... I am passionate about education and leadership development in diverse settings." She added, "The cultural immersion and 100257language development that I will engage in excites me as I will continue to work with different student groups and educational systems."

In her Fulbright application, Laws wrote, "It was not until my sophomore year at DePauw University that I began to see the world through a wider lens.  From my comfortable dorm room, I suddenly found myself on a month long service trip in Costa Rica.  Living and working with an indigenous tribe, the Bri Bri, I woke up with the sun each morning to lay pipes to create an irrigation system for the village.  The majority of the Bri Bri did not speak English, but, through broken Spanish and hand gestures, we communicated. After work, we cooked and dined with each other.  The children taught me their games while I taught them how to play cards.  Our different realities did not keep us from sharing and connecting with each other."

Laws, who was a communication major at DePauw and graduated cum laude, intends to pursue a master's degree in 100071higher education administration following her Fulbright experience. 

"As an English Teaching Assistant, I will be dedicated to the culture and language development of my students," she wrote. " In my time outside of the classroom, I will continue to foster and enrich my network of educators throughout the United States while building a network of educators in Lithuania."  She believes her Fulbright award "provides opportunities for me to connect my previous experience, present career, and future interests."

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program 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 1,500 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. 

66473Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided approximately 300,000 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 students and alumni who are interested in applying for Fulbright Awards may contact Humberto Barreto, Elizabeth P. Allen Distinguished University Professor and professor of economics and management, or Marion "Marnie" McInnes, professor of English and women's studies and director of nationally competitive scholarships.

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