“Innovators. Trailblazers. Fulbrighters.” That’s how the Fulbright Program describes the people it honors, a select group that now includes 10 graduates of Palm Beach Atlantic University.
The Fulbright Program, the flagship international academic exchange sponsored by the U.S. Government, appoints students, educators and researchers to serve and learn in other countries, seeking to foster mutual understanding between the United States and those countries. The latest PBA members joining that group of cultural ambassadors are recent graduates Anna Rose McIntyre and Morgan Hirchert, who will teach English in Bulgaria and South Korea, respectively. Meanwhile, Esther Hagan, PBA’s first Fulbright winner in 2018, has earned a new honor, a Fulbright-Hays award to conduct research in the Philippines.
McIntyre, from Brookfield, Wisconsin, is an English and secondary education major. She finished her degree in December and taught English and history at Watson B. Duncan Middle School in Palm Beach Gardens. At the end of August she will leave for Bulgaria to teach in grades eight to 12.
“I’ve always loved English literature, and knew that I wanted to be a teacher,” McIntyre said. She applied for a Bulgaria placement because she was interested in that culture and in the sociopolitical differences found in a country influenced by the communist regime of the 20th century.
“I’m hoping my eyes will be opened to cultures and dynamics that I’ve never been exposed to,” she said. “And I’m hoping I will find fulfilment in helping others and sharing my love of the English language.” She also looks forward to the connections and opportunities the Fulbright might open for her in the future.
Hirchert, an elementary education major from Wellington, Florida, was honored in May as the Outstanding Graduate of the School of Education and Behavioral Studies. In January, she will leave for her Fulbright Teaching Assistantship in South Korea. “It’s been amazing to see how God put this together for me,” she said.
Ever since she was a little girl, Hirchert wanted to be a teacher. Her love for teaching grew during summer visits to Asia, where she taught English at The Potter’s School summer camps over the course of four years. Compared to the U.S., in Asia the culture “is so much more communal,” Hirchert said. She believes people have a deeper grasp of faith and God’s kingdom because of the community focus and understanding.
In her final PBA semester she traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland, for student teaching.
Both Hirchert and McIntyre studied at the University of Oxford through the David and Leighan Rinker Center for Experiential Learning, and both are graduates from the Frederick M. Supper Honors Program.
English major Hagan became PBA’s Fulbright pioneer in 2018 with the help of the newly created Prestigious National Scholarship Program. Led by Associate Professor of English Dr. Carl Miller, the program encourages students to apply for the Fulbright and other highly-selective scholarships, and then supports them through the application process.
Hagan taught English to elementary and middle school students in Taiwan for a year. This summer, under her Fulbright-Hays Program award, she heads to the Philippines to research the history, culture, political alignments and nuances of the Philippine system. She will then create a curriculum that teachers can use to help students learn about the Philippines and about the importance of studying different cultures and people in different countries. She is one of 64 educators chosen from throughout the U.S. to serve in the Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program. This year the program has seminars in the Philippines, Hungary, Norway, and Germany.
For the past three years, Hagan has taught English at Palm Springs Middle School, where she will return after her Fulbright-Hays journey. She looks forward to helping her middle school students and students elsewhere “grasp that this world is so much bigger than the school they attend and the community they live in, and even the state where they live.”
Photo 1: Anna Rose McInytre, from Brookfield, Wisconsin, will teach grades eight to 12 in Bulgaria.
Photo 2: Morgan Hirchert, from Wellington, Florida, will teach English in South Korea.
Photo 3: Esther Hagan, born in Ghana, became PBA’s Fulbright pioneer in 2018. She recently earned a Fulbright-Hays award to the Philippines.