Summers ’19: Effecting Positive Change, Empowering Others
Adrian Summers ’19 has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to Kenya. A Theatre and African Studies major, he answered some questions about his time at Hamilton and what he hopes to accomplish through his Fulbright ETA.
Why did you apply for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship?
I am doing this Fulbright because I want to go out into the world and effect positive change by empowering others. I plan to incorporate my theatre background into my teaching style and give students the gift of learning in a fun, expressive environment where they can be bold, take risks, and feel safe. I also have an interest in teaching at the collegiate level in the future and I want to experience teaching at a university or a secondary school.
Why are you interested in teaching in Kenya?
I pursued Kenya because I studied Swahili at Hamilton for a year and fell in love with the language. I want to continue developing my language skills. Despite the numerous ethnic tribes that exist, I have read that most Kenyans embrace a great sense of unity, peace, acceptance and closeness as one people and one country. As a member of the African Diaspora, I have always desired a better connection to the African continent, and Kenya seems to possess strong virtues that will help me arrive as a visitor, and perhaps leave as a friend.
What have you been involved in at Hamilton?
I’m currently a Senior Admission Recruitment Intern, head academic tutor for A Better Chance Program, head Residential Advisor, and a member of the Brothers Organization. I’ve been a class representative on Student Assembly, served on the Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and I was a member of the Voices of Color Lecture Series. (He also received a Newman Civic Fellowship in 2017.)
What has had the most impact on you?
I would have to say that serving as president of the Black and Latinx Student Union (BLSU) during my sophomore and junior years profoundly impacted me. I felt connected to everyone on campus because I was constantly venturing out to and developing new relationships with other organizations and offices for collaborations.
Majors: Theatre, Africana studies
Hometown: Bronx, New York
High School: Bronx High School for Medical Science
I remember randomly introducing myself to students and faculty along Martin’s Way, encouraging them to attend a meeting or to support an event by telling them how much I personally wanted them there or how much the event would mean to the community.
It was during this time that I began to understand myself as a “doer” on campus: a person who the community looks toward to champion our causes and to meet our challenges with innovative, timely solutions.
I discovered a strong nurturing impulse that I believe translates well into teaching. My team and I really kept our ears to the community as best as we could to serve our peers and I am so proud of how high we raised the bar for student organizations.
BLSU gave me an opportunity to mentor and cultivate new leaders, something that is very important to me as someone interested in teaching. My favorite thing is observing younger students involved in BLSU really come into their own power and answer questions about the work we did.
What do you want to do after your Fulbright year?
When I return to the U.S., I plan to pursue a graduate degree in acting or performance studies. I was accepted into several graduate programs prior to receiving my Fulbright award. Though I was excited to continue my formal education, my decision to decline those acceptances came easily. I am confident that my experience abroad will expand my range as a performer and will serve to prepare me for more challenging and rigorous graduate programs.