NYU Steinhardt News

English Education Graduate Student Named Fulbright English Teaching Assistant

Every day, members of the NYU Steinhardt community are working around the globe to enact social change. Priscilla Ann Cintron (MA ‘17), a graduate student in our English Education program, underwent a highly selective process and was chosen to work in the Dominican Republic as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. Starting in January 2018, Cintron will be assisting in an English as a Foreign Language university-level classroom. In addition to offering support to college-age students, she will be participating in a community outreach program by maintaining a blog that will capture the community’s perspective on feminism, colorism, and male dominance in the Dominican and other Latin cultures.

What prompted you to apply for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant position?

When I was a sophomore in college, my academic dean recommended I apply for a Fulbright because she knew about my interests in English, Spanish, and teaching. I believe that was when the seed was planted. I’ve always loved teaching, working with people, practicing my Spanish, and exploring different cultures (especially after studying abroad in Southern Spain for a month while an undergraduate). It wasn’t until I completed my first year in Steinhardt’s English Education program that I realized I was a solid candidate for this amazing opportunity because of the pedagogical experience I gained from my classes and student teaching. The big push to actually apply came after I participated in Steinhardt’s two-week study abroad course in the Dominican Republic, Intercultural Perspectives in Multilingual and Multicultural Education. I just fell in love with the country and the people. I knew I had to find my way back there. 

What do you hope to get out of this experience in the Dominican Republic?

Personally, I hope to continue exploring this familiar feeling I experienced when I studied abroad there. I’m a third-generation Puerto Rican, and I felt in tune with the Caribbean rhythms and ways of life I encountered in the Dominican Republic that reminded me of my own upbringing. Professionally, I hope to gain a better understanding of students who are learning English as a second language. This is such an important skill to have when working in New York City. Lastly, I hope to gain a more global perspective on education and social issues. Sometimes, I forget that as a lifetime resident of the Northeast I inhabit a certain bubble; I want to explore different opinions and cultures to make me a more well-rounded individual. 

How did Steinhardt prepare you for this global education opportunity?

My exposure to the Dominican Republic through the study abroad program was amazing. That experience was actually an important factor for me when deciding which graduate program to enter. My coursework on teacher education at Steinhardt emphasized different pedagogies and approaches to language and communication in the United States and in the English Language Arts classroom. I even did a research project for one of my courses about the effect of Latina girls taking Spanish language courses that promote “standard” Castilian Spanish instead of their own native, Dominican Spanish. The courses I took challenged me to think about the impact of different forms of communication, both verbal and written. 

Working as a teacher-intern for a middle school in the South Bronx also pushed me to think about what population of students I wanted to work with -- which turned out to be multiple Spanish-speaking populations. And many of the students I have worked with as a student teacher are first- and second-generation Dominican immigrants.

We wish
Priscilla a rewarding Fulbright experience!