Six Hamilton seniors have been awarded U.S. State Department Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships for 2023-24.

The goal of the program is to improve foreign students’ English language abilities and knowledge of the United States while increasing the Fulbright Scholar’s own language skills and knowledge of the host country. See where the recipients are going, what they hope to learn, and how they plan to use that experience after their Fulbright year.

Meet the Students

Quinn Jones ’23
Government and Hispanic Studies Major
Heading to Spain

You’ll be spending much of your time teaching, but what do you hope to learn?
I’m really excited to see firsthand what an effective model for bilingual education looks like. Spain has significantly grown its program for teaching students English since its first implementation in the late ’90s. I can’t wait to hear what that experience has been like for students and learn how to bring some of those principles back to the U.S.

How did Hamilton’s open curriculum enable you to “know thyself?”
I was able to explore the intersections of my two majors (government and Hispanic studies). Not having to choose — being able to take classes in one discipline that furthered my understanding in the other — enabled me to find my own path forward as I figured out the kind of life that I want to live. Even when I was abroad in Spain through the Hamilton program and all my classes were part of my Hispanic studies major, I was able to take classes in political science and international relations, which exposed me to different global perspectives. 

How will your Fulbright experience, combined with your Hamilton education, inform what you do after next year?
After I complete my Fulbright, I’d like to go to law school and pursue a career in the field of international or asylum law. I think the opportunity to live in another country for an extended amount of time will give me an invaluable perspective on the work I would like to do. Hopefully, I will be able to take what I learned about bilingual education and use that to support the development of nonprofits in the U.S. that support immigrant communities.

Nathalie Martinez ’23
Philosophy Major
Heading to Italy

You will be spending much of your time teaching, but what do you hope to learn? 
I have committed myself to being a lifelong learner and am prepared to bring this spirit into my teaching endeavors in Italy… I am curious to experience first-hand the Italian education system to inform my own pedagogical practices. Engaging in cross-cultural exchange has been at the core of my intellectual pursuits at Hamilton, as well as my time abroad in Bologna, Italy. I hope the intercultural interactions and relationships I form with students, other teachers, and Italians will challenge and expand my current worldview. 

How did Hamilton’s open curriculum enable you to “know thyself?”
Coming into Hamilton, I was generally undecided about my major and took advantage of Hamilton’s open curriculum to explore a vast array of interests during my first year. I thought I was going to be an Art History major at one point. I eventually landed on philosophy as a concentration which became central to my self-ascribed identity and the relationship I have with the world. Besides my major, I cultivated a sincere appreciation for the arts and the humanities, while at the same time finding ways to criticize and discuss issues within U.S. educational institutions and sociopolitical systems–– all of which have fueled my interest to enter the field of education and foster positive change within my sphere of influence. 

How do you think your Fulbright experience, combined with your Hamilton education, will inform what you do after next year?
My Fulbright experience will provide me with the wonderful opportunity to begin my career as an educator and learn how to best adapt my approach(es) to teaching. The Education Studies courses I have taken with Professor Chenyu Wang, the various mentorship roles I held across campus over the years, and the teaching assistant positions that have allowed me to work and learn alongside professors constitute a great part of my Hamilton education. I foresee these experiences will enrich my reflections when teaching in the Italian classroom. Post-Fulbright, I intend to pursue a Master’s in Education. Post-graduate school, I hope to open up a bar in Italy with my brother.

Hana Namkung ’23
World Politics Major
Heading to Taiwan

You’ll be spending much of your time teaching, but what do you hope to learn?
I’ve always been interested in learning Mandarin but never really had the chance to. I plan on taking language classes … and though I know Mandarin is a difficult language, I hope to have a strong foundation so I can continue learning when I return to America. I also hope to learn how to cook traditional Taiwanese dishes.

What are you most interested in exploring in Taiwan?
I’m most excited to explore the nature of Taiwan. Despite being a relatively small island, Taiwan’s geography is quite diverse. There are a lot of mountains, beaches, and hot springs that I’m excited to explore when I’m not teaching English. I plan on going on hiking trips and try surfing. I’m also looking forward to riding a scooter. A huge portion of the population use the scooter as a mode of transportation, so I’m excited to try something I’ve never done before.

How did Hamilton’s open curriculum enable you to “know thyself?”
I plan to use this next year to explore my passions and see how I can contribute to the world around me. I've always been interested in either being an ESL or history teacher, so I think the teaching experience I get through Fulbright will be invaluable. I'm also interested in working in Washington D.C. and pursuing something related to tech ethics and policy. Regardless of what I pursue following my 11 months in Taiwan, I know that the combination of my Hamilton education and experiences from Fulbright will help me figure out what's best for me and pursue my passions. 

Mariam Saied ’23
Art Major
Heading to Taiwan

How did Hamilton’s open curriculum enable you to “know thyself?”
I came into my freshman year completely set on majoring in psychology. None of the schools I went to before Hamilton prioritized the arts or humanities, so most of the courses I took and excelled in were STEM-related. I have always had a passion for art, anthropology, and education, and the open curriculum allowed me to nourish these passions. I found where my true interests lie and spent my four years here putting energy into them without a feeling of academic inadequacy. 

You will be spending much of your time teaching, but what do you hope to learn? 
I find that in the U.S. we rarely go beyond the surface when it comes to exploring and understanding alternative systems of education. In my past classes and teaching experiences, we’ve spent a lot of time dissecting the American education system and fail to look outward for solutions. No one system is perfect, but we have a lot to learn from countries like Taiwan that emphasize equal opportunity learning and content mastery. 

How do you think your Fulbright experience, combined with your Hamilton education, will inform what you do after next year?
The one thing I’ve been sure about throughout my Hamilton experience is that I want to be an educator postgrad. I hope to work in early childhood education, and my Hamilton education has provided me with a deep understanding of the holistic nature of that field. I hope that with the hands-on experience I gain from completing my Fulbright ETA I’ll feel completely prepared to enter the profession and have a clear idea of what I need to do to be an effective educator.

Adrienne Thayaparan ’23
Hispanic Studies Major
Heading to Spain

You will be spending much of your time teaching, but what do you hope to learn? 
Having spent my junior year abroad in Spain, I have gotten to know a lot about the intricacies of Spanish culture, but I did not get the chance to experience their educational system. I’m hoping to learn more about how the culture is reflected in the classroom environment, the teaching process, and the advancement of learning.

What are you most interested in exploring in Spain?
Spain’s numerous festivals are an integral part of its cultural heritage. I got to experience a few last year, including Las Fallas in Valencia and the Transhumance Festival in Madrid. It was an incredible experience to enjoy the jovial community and vivacious atmosphere, and I’m looking forward to exploring even more festivals.

Ariana (Ari) Wheeler ’23
World Politics Major
Heading to Bulgaria

How did Hamilton’s open curriculum enable you to “know thyself?”
I am a first-generation college student and I come from a low-income family, so Hamilton’s “know thyself” motto didn’t always resonate with me as I simply aimed to do what I could to succeed in vastly unknown territory. The open curriculum facilitated my discovery and love for comparative politics and psychology, two subjects that have dominated my time and newfound career path. It gave me the space to engage with and learn from incredible professors and to meet the most intelligent, articulate, and accomplished peers.

Without Hamilton, I never would have had the opportunities to explore and expand my career network through summer internships, to mentor students and learn more in the process as a teaching assistant, or to have the time to foster deeper connections in my role as a student supervisor at the Hamilton library. I am so grateful for my time at Hamilton and all of the ways in which it has enriched my understanding of the world.

You will be spending much of your time teaching, but what do you hope to learn?
The experience of living in Bulgaria, embracing Bulgarian culture, and learning about the individual experiences of my students will be transformative. I have yet to leave the United States at all, and I know that traveling in and of itself will be a huge, exciting, and daunting undertaking. More than anything, I think being in a teaching and mentorship position will allow me to learn how to build relationships with my students and will help me in my own development. I’ll have the opportunity to coach speech and debate through Bulgaria’s BEST foundation, which will be such a wonderful opportunity for me to expand my own debate experience toward coaching and developing critical thinking and argumentation skills among high school students.

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