NYU Steinhardt News

Fellowship Spotlight: Teaching and Learning Student Wins Fulbright Award

English Education MA student, Priscilla Cintron, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in the Dominican Republic from January-November 2018. Citron discusses her interest in the Dominican Republic and the Fulbright admissions process in the interview below.
Additional information about the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program is provided here.

NYU has a variety of resource to support students interested in pursuing external fellowships. To learn about fellowship information sessions and upcoming application deadlines, subscribe to the Global Awards list-serv. Undergraduate students may also schedule an advising session with Jenni Quilter or Kris Larsen in the Office of Global Awards. Graduate Students are encouraged to contact Abby Williams, Assistant Director for Fellowships and Awards. Vivienne Felix, Associate Director of Experiential Learning, in the Office of Global Affairs is also available to provide support to Steinhardt students pursuing external fellowships.

What inspired you to participate in the Fulbright program?
As an undergraduate, I majored in English with a double minor in Spanish and Women’s Studies. When I was a sophomore, my academic dean asked me if I was interested in applying 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 Spain. It wasn’t until I completed my first year in my Master's that I realized that I was a solid candidate for this amazing opportunity. The big push to actually go through with applying came after a two-week study abroad course in the Dominican Republic. I fell in love with the country and the people. I knew that I had to find my way back there.

How has NYU prepared you for work abroad?
My exposure to the Dominican Republic through the study abroad program was amazing. That study abroad program was actually an important factor for me when deciding which graduate program to enter. I loved how NYU offered all Steinhardt students the chance to study abroad. When I reflect on my graduate courses in education, I realize that we’ve always talked about different pedagogies and approaches to language and communication in the United States. I even did a project in 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. NYU was also really helpful in helping me figure out how to improve my personal statement and my grant proposal for the actual application. Most of the people who wrote my recommendations I met through NYU. I also think that working as a teacher intern for a middle school in the South Bronx through a NYU partnership pushed me to think about what population of students I wanted to work with, which turned out to be many Spanish-speaking populations.

What is the focus of your research in the Dominican Republic?
I will be an English Teacher Assistant working in an English as a Foreign Language classroom in a university or college setting. I’m there to be an extra help to the lead teacher and provide support as a native English speaker. I have proposed a community outreach project exploring what feminism means to community members. I plan to document the project in a blog that will share findings, solicit contributions from others, and attempt amplify the community’s voice.

What do you aspire to do after your Fulbright experience?
I graduated in December and am currently in a teaching position in an East Harlem high school. My school serves many Dominican students. When I return to the U.S. in 2019, I plan to return to teaching. After a year in the Dominican Republic, I feel that I will be a greater resource to my students. I look forward to bringing my experience and new knowledge about the Dominican Republic to the classroom. I’m also considering certification in Teaching English as a Second Language.

What advice would you give to students applying to Fulbright programs?
You need to have a special passion or connection to that place you are applying: maybe you read a book about it, you visited it briefly, or you have just always found yourself wondering about it. Once you’ve made the decision to apply, remember to stay positive. It does feel scary to think about how many people are applying and how big a program it is. But if you are seriously thinking about participating in a Fulbright program, you have probably been taking steps in that direction that make you a viable candidate already. Lastly, ask for help. Being grateful and humble to everyone who is supporting your goes a long way. They are investing their time in you because they believe in you; so show your appreciation and keep them updated with the whole process.