A record eight Loyola students have received the Fullbright Scholarship for 2019 Two of those eight students, Maggie Gillen and Allie Weis, are both graduating undergraduate psychology majors. We asked Maggie and Allie to reflect on their favorite experiences while at Loyola and discuss their future Fulbright plans.
Maggie Gillen, Class of 2019, B.A. in Psychology with Sociology minor
2019 Fulbright Award Winner
Previous noteworthy Loyola experiences: I work for the Center for Community, Service, and Justice. I am the Student Coordinator for Soccer Without Borders, a program which I have been volunteering with since my first year at Loyola. Soccer Without Borders uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing newcomer refugee, immigrant, or asylee youth with a toolkit to help overcome barriers to growth, inclusion, and personal success. I also studied abroad in the fall of 2017 to Cork, Ireland.
Fulbright plans: I will be going to the Netherlands to teach English and conduct a supplemental research project. I am most looking forward to having the opportunity to learn more about an alternative education system compared to what we have here in the United States. The Dutch education system measures academic success in six curricular areas including Dutch, English, mathematics, social and environmental studies, creative expression, and sports and movement.
I am curious about the use of such a holistic connection to academic material in order to help children succeed socially, emotionally, and academically in a learning environment. I hope to gain a deeper understanding of this more interpersonal approach in the Netherlands, for this social-emotional connection to academia is inconsistent in U.S. schools.
As a Fulbright recipient, I am excited to have such an opportunity for personal and professional growth, and to be able to foster what it really means to be a global citizen through this cross-cultural experience.
This experience will definitely help me in my future professional career because it will allow me to further my education about different systemic approaches to injustice by actively participating in the progressive efforts of the Netherlands as an ETA. I will then be able to connect what I have learned to my passion for social justice and the psychological wellbeing of children.
Allie Weis, Class of 2019, B.A. in Psychology with Philosophy minor
2019 Fulbright Award Winner
Previous noteworthy Loyola experiences: I serve as the Director of Campus Outreach on Loyola's Student Government Association and am an active member of Club Council. Additionally, I sit as a panel member on the Honor Council and am a member of the Loyola University Maryland chapters of Alpha Sigma Nu, Psi Chi, Phi Sigma Tau, and Phi Beta Kappa. I will also graduate with Honors in Psychology this May.
I studied abroad in Leuven, Belgium and attended the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. During my time in Leuven, I was actually given the opportunity to conduct an internship at a local secondary school (the U.S. equivalent to a high school) as an English Teaching Assistant. For four months, I taught English language, literature, and culture to 16-18 year old Belgian students and had an extraordinary experience; though I was able to teach new material intriguing to Belgian secondary schoolers, I learned a great deal from my students in terms of the Dutch language and the Western European/Belgian lifestyle. The reciprocity of learning was something I found to be a true blessing. The experience I had within the realm of my internship in Leuven certainly motivated me to apply as an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) through the Fulbright Program; I am very grateful that this opportunity introduced me to the domain of international education.
Fulbright Plans: During my Fulbright year, I will be teaching English language and culture as an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) at a university in Belgium. The exact placement of my Fulbright grant is unknown, but -- regardless -- I am thrilled to return to Belgium and to further engage with students in the classroom setting. Receiving my particular placement will be quite an exciting surprise.
There's so much to look forward to in terms of my work abroad -- firstly, I am very much looking forward to returning to the country of Belgium. I studied abroad in Leuven, Belgium last spring and was captivated by the vast cultural diversity within the nation itself; the linguistic, historical, and customary elements of the country are as fascinating as they are complex. I greatly enjoyed my time in the Flanders (Dutch-speaking) region of Belgium, but, too, gave my fullest effort to immerse myself within the different cultural contexts of the country. I am perhaps most looking forward to delving further into learning about Belgium's history and the uniqueness of its three major regions. The multicultural aspect of Belgium was something I very much welcomed, and I hope to engage and develop relationships with students and peers from diverse backgrounds during my time as an English Teaching Assistant in Belgium.
Receiving this scholarship is something that I am so exceedingly grateful for. During my time at Loyola, I've wholeheartedly dedicated myself toward cultivating my passions and channeling these through my work, and I feel as though I have been granted such a special opportunity to do so in an international context. I am so thankful for the journey that I will soon embark on, and I welcome the challenges and opportunities for growth that accompany it.
I definitely believe this experience will help me in terms of my professional career; in addition to being able to pursue a career in education, I am very much looking forward to being able to network -- and develop meaningful relationships with my peers -- in an international context. Belgium is also home to several significant international organizations and fosters a multicultural, globally-focused environment, so I am certainly hoping to increase my cultural competency as well as to further my linguistic abilities. In the future, I would love to have the opportunity to work for an international non-profit organization; I believe that living and teaching in Belgium will provide an invaluable experience in which I can prepare for my future career -- wherever that may take me!