NYU Steinhardt News

Steinhardt Undergraduate in Teaching and Learning Awarded Fulbright

Annie Lai, a Mathematics Education Major, has received an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) award from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.  The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers research, study and teaching opportunities in more than 140 countries to recent graduates and graduate students.  ETAs help teach English language while serving as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. Ms. Lai will serve as an ETA in Hualien, Taiwan from August 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018.  She says, “As an ETA in Taiwan, I am excited to not only teach English, but also to get a taste of how the food, people, and culture of Taiwan is uniquely different from the Chinese.”

Fulbright recipients not only excel academically, but also demonstrate leadership, passion, and strength of character.  Jasmine Ma, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education, shared “It's clear from Annie's major and extracurricular work that she's committed to teaching and learning about teaching. Instead of hammering on her own agenda, she tries to understand learners, and build from what they know, and are comfortable with. She is also open to new experiences, and sees herself as a learner.”

“Annie is a thoughtful, kind, and intelligent young woman who is a wonderful member of Teaching & Learning and our NYU community,” said Teress Nugent, a Senior Student Adviser. Inspired to apply for the fellowship by her sister, who is currently a Fulbright ETA in Taiwan, Ms. Lai said, “Through my teaching experiences and some of the education classes I took at NYU, I became more aware of how English can be a barrier to many students.”  

Ms. Lai is well-prepared for this global experience, and received a great deal of support from the NYU community during her application process. Kenneth Logan, a PhD Candidate in Literacy Education, noted that “Annie tutors elementary school children on Saturday mornings in New York City’s Chinatown; she works in the America Reads program; she is learning American Sign Language and Mandarin so that she can establish a good rapport with a variety of students. The amount of time Annie has already dedicated to children’s education, particularly the education of immigrant students, demonstrates her commitment not only to education but also to the communities in which she lives.”

During her semester-long study abroad experience in London, Lai further developed an appreciation for other cultures, as well as an interest in education systems around the world. She reflected, “As an educator, I want to help students overcome the language barriers that hinder their learning progress and keep them from reaching their potential.”

NYU offers several resources to help students identify which nationally competitive fellowships and merit-based awards are available to support their research and professional development. To learn about 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 also 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 available to provide support to Steinhardt students pursuing external fellowships.