Fulbright Program Grants to Student and Faculty Member
On August 1, 1946 President Harry S. Truman signed a bill into law that created the Fulbright Program, an international educational program sponsored by the United States government. This year, two of Fairfield University’s own were among the elite group to be awarded Fulbright grants to embark on educational experiences abroad.
Kathryn Anne Dennen MA’16 will begin her Fulbright experience this August as a Greek-English Teaching Assistant in Greece, teaching English as a second language. Scott Lacy, PhD, associate professor of sociology and anthropology and chair of the Department, will journey to Cameroon in October to teach undergraduate and graduate students at the Catholic University of Cameroon (CATUC) in Bamenda, while also working with students on collaborative research projects.
After hearing about the Fulbright program during her undergraduate years at Fairfield, Dennen imagined herself being a part of the program, but decided to put the application process on hold until she completed her fifth year in elementary education in Fairfield’s Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions (GSEAP) program. After receiving an email this year about an impending application deadline, Dennen decided to apply.
“I’m always thinking big. What is my next adventure? How can I be more, see more, learn more, do more? Then, I received an email from the University, reminding students about the campus deadline for Fulbright applications. It was a sign,” she said.
Hoping to learn as much as she can about Greek culture and education, Dennen said she hopes to serve as an ambassador between the United States and Greece. “I would like to bring music, dance, theater and other art forms into the classroom to inspire them to see more of their potential as citizens of a global community.”
For Dr. Lacy, his recent Fulbright grant award won’t be the first time he’s been involved with the program. From 2001 to 2002, Dr. Lacy participated in his first Fulbright experience in Mali, where he conducted ethnographic research in rural parts of the country. His connection to Mali continues today, with Dr. Lacy serving as the founder and executive director of African Sky, a non-governmental organization that grew from the projects he started as a Fulbrighter. African Sky has since blossomed into an organization that has raised over $400,000 to help Malian communities develop and implement projects, with his most recent endeavor establishing a women’s literacy center in rural Zeala.
Dr. Lacy’s time in Mali has formed the foundation for the teaching-research program he hopes to pursue in Cameroon in his second Fulbright experience, which involved two collaborative research projects with CATUC-Bamenda that will begin in October.
Describing his upcoming work in Cameroon as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn, serve and teach,” Dr. Lacy said he is honored to be going to CATUC-Bamenda to start his second Fulbright journey, and excited to tackle a new challenge.
“Cameroon anthropology programs are unique in that they train students not only in the history and theory of our discipline, but they also inspire students to apply anthropology to critically understand and embolden Cameroon communities,” he said. “That’s my style of anthropology, and that’s how I teach and practice anthropology here at Fairfield."
Mary Frances Malone, PhD, associate vice president for academic affairs, said that Lacy and Dennen’s grants from the competitive Fulbright program reflect Fairfield’s mission to promote the importance of being men and women for others.
“The philosophy of Fulbright resonates very clearly within Fairfield University,” she said. “As a Catholic Jesuit university dedicated to academic excellence and being good global citizens who recognize our responsibility to work to understand and improve society, our students and faculty are well poised to compete for these prestigious awards.”
Photo, Scott Lacy, PhD
by Nicole Funaro ’17