Meilin Chong Receives Fulbright Scholarship

April 27, 2017

Meilin ChongWheelock graduating senior Meilin Chong was awarded a 2017 Fulbright U.S. Student Program award to spend 10 months in Ecuador teaching English to university students and conducting research into international differences in bilingual education.

"It is tremendous to see Wheelock College students being recognized in such prestigious ways for their academic engagement within an institutional and global context," said Dr. Adrian K. Haugabrook, Vice President for Student Success and Engagement. "Ms. Chong has clearly stewarded Wheelock's mission in that manner and will have a unique opportunity as a Fulbright Scholar to marry her academic and professional interests in a dynamic setting."

Chong is one of 1,900 U.S. citizens who will conduct research, teach English, and provide expertise abroad for the 2017-2018 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields. Chong is one of just four students chosen to go to Ecuador through the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Program.

A standout member of the Class of 2017, Chong majored in Early Childhood Education/Counseling Psychology. Born in Peru, she emigrated to the U.S. when she was 7 years old. Because of her experiences as a non-native English speaker, Chong understands the challenges faced by young ELL students. For her senior practicum, she served as a student teacher at the Rafael Hernandez School, a Spanish-English immersion school in Roxbury. As a Jumpstart Corps member her first year at Wheelock and a team leader during her sophomore year, she worked with preschoolers in low-income neighborhoods.

While at Wheelock, she discovered a love of research, which made her rethink her plans to become a classroom teacher. Instead, she will use the Fulbright Scholarship to explore international approaches to bilingual education. She then plans to apply to a master's program, with a goal of eventually earning a doctoral degree and becoming a university professor focused on bilingual education research.

"Professors can have a different impact than being in one elementary school district," Chong said. "I am excited about the Fulbright because it will help me learn about education in a different part of the world and will allow me to do my independent research project exploring different models of bilingual education."

Chong has an impressive list of accomplishments at Wheelock. In addition to her studies and student teaching, she has been a campus leader throughout her four years. She was a resident assistant in Peabody Hall, an Admissions Ambassador who leads college tours, president of La Herencia Latina student group, and president of her Class Council. She also completed two service learning trips to New Orleans to help with post-Katrina reconstruction, and one to South Africa to help implement a new daycare curriculum. In May, she will take a service learning trip to Nicaragua to teach English and Spanish literacy. 

Chong said the most challenging part of the Fulbright application was the "Statement of Purpose," which required her to summarize her goals, interests, and accomplishments.  "It was very hard because I wanted to make it impactful," she said. "I had to have them know me in one sheet of paper."

The Fulbright Program in Ecuador runs from October 2017 through July 2018.

About the Fulbright Program

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide.
Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has given more than 370,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbrighters address critical global challenges in all areas while building relationships, knowledge, and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 57 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 82 who have received Pulitzer Prizes, and 37 who have served as a head of state or government.

The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) program places recent college graduates and young professionals as English teaching assistants in primary and secondary schools or universities overseas—improving foreign students' English language abilities and knowledge of the United States while increasing the U.S. student's own language skills and knowledge of the host country. ETAs receive a stipend and are encouraged to pursue individual study/research plans in addition to their teaching responsibilities.

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