A pair of Seans have won US Student Fulbright awards to serve as English Teaching Assistants (ETA) for 2020–21. Sean McAneny ’20 and Sean Welch ’19, who graduated in December, both earned bachelor’s degrees in English and were four-year members of Geneseo’s NCAA cross country and track and field teams. They will be placed in the Czech Republic and Taiwan respectively to live and teach English for a year. The Fulbright US Student Program provides grants for individually designed study or research programs, or English teaching assistant programs, in many foreign countries.
The awards bring to seven the number of Geneseo alumni or seniors to win Fulbright awards for 2020–21: Rachel Britton ’18 (Iceland), Anna Charny ’19 (Spain), Elizabeth Cirulli ’19 (Colombia), Rickie Nixon ’20 (Vietnam), and Connor Widmaier ’20 (Germany). A record seven other Geneseo alumni and seniors were named alternates and may receive awards if funding becomes available.
McAneny, from Greenville, NY, was particularly attracted to the ETA program’s emphasis on teaching and service as an experience for growth. “My Fulbright year will not only enrich my pedagogy, it will also place me at the intersection of scholarship and leadership,” he said. “I hope to come away both a better student and teacher of the English language and its literature, as well as an ambassador for my family, school, and country.” McAneny notes that the Czech people tend to be civically engaged, which he tries to emulate: “I hope that my immersion in a new community and country will deepen my sense of social responsibility and respect for others.”
Working abroad is an exciting prospect for McAneny, “especially in a country with such rich literary traditions. Living in the Czech Republic at the geographic center of the European Union will inform my study of geo-literary forms and cosmopolitanism.” Looking ahead, he plans to apply to graduate schools and hopes to focus on the literature of geography.
Welch, a graduate of the Edgar Fellows honors program, is from Webster, NY, and also majored in adolescent education. “I’m most passionate about teaching students with substantially different strengths and stories than my own,” he said. “Working with students with developmental disabilities at the Geneseo LIVES program and with students learning English as a second language at English Immersion Group, I saw the amazing potential for growth in both these students and in myself through our alliances.”
Welch expects his year in Taiwan to have a long-term impact on his teaching career. “After my Fulbright year, I plan to return to the US and pursue a master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language or in special education, bolstered by the experience of helping Taiwanese students grow as English learners,” he said. “I will be eager to share my experiences in Taiwan to broaden my future students’ worldviews just as I hope to create an atmosphere of intercultural growth and respect as an American in Taiwan.”
The US Student Fulbright competition is open to students and alumni. It is administered at Geneseo by Director of National Fellowships and Scholarships Michael Mills, who can be reached at email@example.com and 585-245-6002. For more information about the Fulbright and other nationally and internationally competitive scholarship and fellowship programs, visit Fellowships and Scholarships.