Four students receive Fulbright awards to teach abroad

McDaniel Fulbright students Mariah Ligas, Ema Barnes, Maggie Myers, Jaime Calderon
April 20, 2017

Four McDaniel students have received prestigious Fulbright awards for the 2017–2018 academic year. Seniors Ema Barnes and Jaime Calderon and graduate students Mariah Ligas and Maggie Myers have been named Fulbright finalists for English Teaching Assistantships (ETA) to teach English in the Czech Republic, Andorra, Romania and South Korea, respectively.

This is the fourth consecutive year that a McDaniel student has been named a Fulbright recipient. A total of 10 McDaniel students have ever been awarded Fulbright scholarships.

This year’s four Fulbright recipients are eagerly anticipating experiencing new cultures and sharing their own culture with their students and the people of the towns and villages where they will live. They all feel that they have as much to learn as they have to teach.

“South Korea is one of the leading countries in education. As an aspiring teacher, I want to be exposed to as many teaching methods as possible in order to ensure that I am proving the best education for my students,” says Myers, who is from Finksburg, Md. “I felt as though South Korea could provide that for me.”

Andorra, a tiny nation between Spain and France, is the perfect place for Calderon, who has studied and is fluent in both Spanish and French. 

“The fact that I will be working with students who want to learn, who want to be taught English language and culture is pretty amazing,” said Calderon of Falls Church, Va. “I am excited for this experience, and I am already preparing lesson plans for them.”

Barnes, who is from San Francisco but grew up in New Zealand, will spend 10 months teaching high-schoolers English in a small Czech town of 10,000.

“I'm most excited to completely immerse myself into a foreign culture and to not have native English-speakers surrounding me as I did while studying abroad,” she says. “I think it's very important to understand how people from different backgrounds view the world and in my opinion, the best way to do that is to talk to people themselves and hear about their stories.”

During her year studying abroad in Germany, Ligas of Aldie, Va., visited a friend and her family in Romania and was taken by “the kindness they showed me, the intricate unique spunk of the language, and the strikingly colorful and dignified culture.” She felt drawn to the country when she learned it has a rich and thriving theater history.

“I'm honored and ecstatic to have this chance to experience more of this resilient and multilayered culture and share some of mine,” she says.

McDaniel’s 2017-18 Fulbright award winners:

Ema Barnes

Ema BarnesA double major in English and Political Science with a specialization in International Studies at McDaniel, Barnes is a 2013 graduate of Lowell High School in San Francisco. At McDaniel, she has participated in the Maryland Student Legislature, as well as Model United Nations and Model European Union. She is co-editor-in-chief of McDaniel’s Contrast literary magazine and serves as a resident assistant. She is also a member of the Trumpeters leadership honor society.

As a junior, she was one of only 10 students selected nationwide for a William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship from the Clinton Presidential Foundation to study abroad at American University in Dubai in fall 2015. She also continued her study abroad experience in Morocco with AMIDEAST for the spring 2016 semester.

In addition, she has spent her summers working at Zion National Park in Utah, Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and Glacier National Park in Montana. Her future plans are to work in the publishing industry, specifically with helping to diversify published materials.

Jaime Calderon

Jaime CalderonA Spanish major with minors in English Literature and French Culture and Literature, Calderon chose to apply to Andorra because of its historical connection to Spain and France, in addition to Spanish and French being spoken there. He is most excited to meet the people and begin teaching English language and American culture.

Calderon grew up in El Salvador and moved to the United States when he was 15 years old. He studied abroad in Peru with “The Forest Online,” an interdisciplinary course at McDaniel that took place during Jan Term 2016, and has also traveled to Montreal, Canada. 

Active on campus, he is the arts and culture editor of the McDaniel Free Press student newspaper and a member of Contrast Literary Magazine’s editorial board. He is a first-year peer mentor and has held leadership positions with the French Club, serving as president during his junior and senior years. In addition, he has performed with the McDaniel College Choir and The McDaniel Madrigal Singers, including at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in November 2016.

In addition, he is a writing center tutor and has tutored Spanish for the World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures department, as well as for McDaniel’s Student Academic Support Services Office. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Lambda Delta national honor societies, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society, as well as Phi Sigma Iota foreign languages honor society and Sigma Tau Delta English honor society. As a sophomore, he was the recipient of the Jean Alpaugh Award for Interdisciplinary Study.

He spent the summers following his sophomore and junior years teaching English as a second language at the English Language Institute at Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, Pa., where he plans to return this summer. His future plans are to apply to graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in Hispanic literature. He also wants to travel around the world, specifically in Latin America.

Mariah Ligas

Mariah LigasLigas, who graduates from the Better Educators for Students of Tomorrow (BEST) graduate program in May with a master’s degree in secondary education, is a student teacher at Westminster High School in Westminster, Md.

A 2016 alumna of McDaniel, Ligas graduated magna cum laude with departmental honors in both German and Theatre Arts. She was awarded The Edith Farr Ridington Writing Award for the graduating senior with the best paper, as well as The Frank and Margaret Malone Award for Excellence in a Foreign Language and The Lynn F. Gruber Medal for proficiency in extracurricular activities.

As an undergraduate student, Ligas was a member of leadership honor societies Omicron Delta Kappa and Trumpeters. A member of the Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society, she was involved in technical theater, including serving as stage manager. She was also a Global Fellow and studied abroad in Heidelberg, Germany, where she taught English in a German school.

Maggie Myers

Maggie MyersMyers, who graduates from in the Better Educators for Students of Tomorrow (BEST) graduate program in May with a master’s degree in secondary education, is a student teacher at Shiloh Middle School in Hampstead, Md., and also student-taught at Manchester Valley High School in Manchester, Md., as well as served as a substitute ESOL teacher in Carroll County Public Schools.

She graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English from McDaniel in 2016 and was a recipient of a Delta Kappa Gamma scholarship for women educators pursuing advanced degrees, including master’s and Ph.D. She most recently was selected as a “Maryland Teacher of Promise” by the Md. State Department of Education.

As an undergraduate student, she was a member of Kappa Delta Pi, the international education honor society, as well as Sigma Tau Delta English honor society and Alpha Lambda Delta national honor society. She earned The Duke of Edinburgh’s silver medal for her achievement in community service, physical fitness, special skills and adventurous journey.

In addition, she worked as a writing center tutor and tutored English for McDaniel’s Student Academic Support Services Office. She also volunteered for Palabras 2 Words, a student organization at McDaniel that tutors native Spanish speakers in English, and worked as a summer counselor teaching English as a second language at the English Language Institute at Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, Pa.

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