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Belmont Graduates Awarded Prestigious Fulbright Grants for Overseas Teaching

Recent graduates to serve in Taiwan, Slovak Republic

May 2016 Belmont University graduates Salwa Saba and Grant Gill were recently awarded Fulbright program grants for overseas teaching in Taiwan and Slovak Republic, respectively. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

Saba, an international politics major with minors in economics and Chinese, is from Brentwood, Tennessee and will serve as an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) for elementary or middle school students in Taichung, Taiwan for 11 months. Saba hopes for an eventual career in diplomacy and foreign policy work, and last year received a Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State to participate in a language and cultural immersion summer 2015 program in China. In addition to serving as an after school academic mentor at the Nashville International Center for Empowerment and being a member of three campus honor societies, Saba also held leadership positions in several student organizations during her time at Belmont, including the H.O.P.E. Council and the South Asian & Middle Eastern student association.

“I believe that pursuing an ETA in Taiwan will not only help me create bridges with other people through the English language,” Saba said, “but would also allow me to strengthen my Mandarin Chinese language skills to enhance my professional goals. In my past travels to China, I realized that the majority of people I interacted with had a particular picture of what a typical American looked like, making me an anomaly. A Fulbright allows you to be a cultural and citizen ambassador, and I hope that my interactions in Taiwan reflect the demographic changes in America and broadens their view of what it means to be an American.”

Gill, who graduated in May with honors, majored in design communications with an emphasis in studio art (sculpture). Originally from Decatur, Alabama, Gill will be teaching English for 11 months in a technical school in Trnava, Slovak Republic, beginning in September. Gill’s exhibit, I Do Not Mean Ecclesiastical Art, was recently featured in Belmont’s Leu Gallery, where he was a Best of Show winner for his three-dimensional work. Gill said, “I wanted teaching experience to prepare me for grad school and eventually a professorship. I hope to study for my Masters of Fine Art and eventually teach sculpture at the university level… One [Belmont] professor, John Watson, taught me to dig in and pursue any opportunity or idea that caught my interest and to always strive to grow. The Fulbright is all of those things. I cannot thank John Watson enough for how he has shaped my life and future.”

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