In March 2020, the Class of 2023 left Douglass in the middle of their first year of college due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the next year and a half, they persisted through online learning, built community across computer screens, and adapted and re-adapted to evolving uncertainty in the wider world. On May 13, the College was thrilled to come together to honor this special graduating cohort at the 102nd Douglass Spring Convocation.
Douglass Students & Alumnae Compose Over a Quarter of Rutgers Fulbright Awardees
The College is honored to announce that five members of the Douglass community have been awarded Fulbright grants this year. Douglass students account for over a quarter of all Rutgers students awarded this prestigious recognition in the 2022-2023 school year. Douglass caught up with two of the awardees, Gabrielle Jacob DRC'20 and Aditi Kiron DRC'22, to learn more about their awards, the work they are doing as part of the program, and where they hope to take their future careers.
Through the Fulbright program, Jacob and Kiron are currently English Teaching Assistants in high schools in South Korea. There, they work with students teaching conversational English.
"I hope to give the kids a better understanding of American culture and history and the way that we live it out every single day," said Jacob. "I also hope to learn a lot more about Korean culture and the similarities and differences."
"The students are very hardworking and lovely!" said Kiron. "Learning English and becoming bilingual will open so many doors for my students, especially because a majority of them want to pursue careers in the sciences and eventually study abroad in English-speaking countries. I have had so many impactful conversations with them about the journeys they hope to embark on once they graduate. I hope the language and lessons I have taught them will help them navigate their future experiences."
Both Jacob and Kiron credit their time at Douglass as critical to their competitive candidacy for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program.
"The support system that I had from Douglass greatly impacted me even applying to this program," said Jacob. "My closest friends are from Douglass, and they encouraged me to apply to the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) program. Also, by taking Douglass classes and interacting with staff and faculty for various projects, Douglass fostered a community where I gained confidence in my abilities."
"My time at Douglass helped me prepare for where I am now by showing me how to leverage my skills and interests to achieve certain goals," said Kiron. "Douglass taught me how to network and market myself, skills that I didn't initially possess when starting university. Douglass helped make me a more confident woman, which has helped me connect to a vast number of people while abroad. Additionally, it is because of Douglass that I have the support system that I do now, and I will forever be indebted to Douglass for that reason."
Jacob holds an MPH with a concentration in epidemiology and hopes to pursue her Ph.D. in epidemiology after the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. She has received the Chancellor's Leadership Award and the Stanley S. Bergen Medal of Excellence. Kiron is similarly accomplished, having led several Douglass student organizations, including the Douglass-Honors College Coalition. She hopes to pursue her Ph.D. in mathematics and join academia. Both students embody the academic excellence characteristic of Douglass students.
"While teaching abroad has been quite difficult, it has simultaneously been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life thus far," said Kiron. "Every student I have met or taught is special in their own way, and the little daily interactions I have with them are the highlight of each week. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for my students and what else I can learn from them over the course of the following year!"
Congratulations to the full list of Douglass Fulbright Awardees:
Assata C. Davis DRC’21
Gabrielle A. Jacob DRC'20
Clare A. Kelly DRC'21
Aditi Kiron DRC'22
Eleanor Meli DRC'21