Palm Beach Atlantic senior Esther Hagan has earned a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award for an English Teaching Assistantship (ETA), joining an elite list of students, artists and researchers across the country winning Fulbright honors.
Hagan, an English major from Annapolis, Maryland, is to teach in Taiwan under the award from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.
“A Fulbright is a highly selective and prestigious award for international study that aims to foster mutual exchange and understanding between citizens of the United States and those of other countries,” said Dr. Robert Lloyd, PBA’s dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. “The Fulbright award is a significant milestone for PBA. It carries with it recognition of the quality of the student who received the award as well as the academic quality of the university that trained the recipient.”
Hagan, who will graduate on May 5, was born in Ghana, West Africa. During her time at PBA she has traveled to China and to New Zealand through the David and Leighan Rinker Center for Experiential Learning.
“I’ve always found it fascinating to go to different countries and engage with different people from different cultures,” said Hagan. “I’m excited to go to Taiwan and see what their culture is like and what motivates them as people and how they live life.”
Dean Lloyd said receiving a Fulbright “not only provides opportunities for the recipient to learn more about the world, but also opens doors to future scholarly and vocational endeavors.” Hagan is to spend the 2018-19 academic year teaching in Taiwan, and after that plans to pursue a master’s degree, perhaps in African studies. Her long-term goal is to teach at the collegiate level.
Hagan is the first-ever PBA student to be offered the prestigious Fulbright .
She became a Fulbright finalist after a lengthy application process, aided by the University’s newly formed Prestigious National Scholarships Committee. Its members are Dr. Carl Miller, assistant professor of English; Dr. Elizabeth Stice, assistant professor of history; and Dr. Mireille Aleman, associate professor of chemistry.
Fulbright awards are granted on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and leadership potential. Miller described Hagan as a “very, very talented student” with a dedicated service record. The summer edition of PBA’s Current magazine will include a feature story on Hagan and her Fulbright plans.
The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by then-Senator J. William Fulbright. 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.