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English professor Jose Amaya named Fulbright Scholar

Jose Amaya Fulbright Scholar

Dr. Jose Amaya (left) receives his letter of acceptance from Dr. Chris Russell, MCC Dean of Students & Academic Affairs. Dr. Amaya was named to the 2015 Fulbright Specialist Roster this past week.

Marshalltown Community College has announced that English Professor, Dr. Jose Amaya, has been named to the 2015 Fulbright Specialist Roster. This is the first time a Marshalltown Community College faculty member has received this prestigious distinction.

“The College is thrilled for Dr. Amaya, and honored to have him on our faculty,” says Dr. Robin Lilienthal, MCC Provost. “MCC has incorporated an internationalization focus into its student learning priorities, so Dr. Amaya’s selection as a Fulbright Specialist and his subsequent experiences abroad will certainly enhance our student’s cross-cultural understanding.”

Amaya will be working at China Agricultural University in Beijing, China (CAU), pending final approval from J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Once approved, Amaya will work with the CAU English department faculty on developing the best methods of English Composition instruction for its students.

“If you look at the academic institutions that have Fulbright Specialists in their faculty ranks, it’s an impressive list,” says Amaya, who joined MCC in 2014. “Placing MCC on that list shows that we’re focused on providing our students with a global education.”

The Fulbright Specialist Program (FSP) promotes linkages between U.S. scholars and professionals and their counterparts at host institutions abroad. Specialists are matched with incoming projects from overseas academic institutions that require Fulbright Specialist expertise. They then teach or work in residence at the college or university in various capacities for 2-6 weeks. Since Amaya was placed on the five-year Roster, he will be eligible for overseas project requests from 2015-2019.

When asked about his initial reaction to the news of his acceptance, Amaya put it simply—“Shock and disbelief.” Amaya applied for the Fulbright Scholar program in July, and received word about his acceptance just last week.

“I honestly never thought I’d be appointed. The competition for the Fulbright is international and keen. Dean [Chris] Russell wrote a reference letter on my behalf and I called him the day I received the letter. I told him that I’d read the letter three times looking for the ‘We regret to inform you…’ part!”

Amaya says his personal connection with a Fulbright Scholar influenced him to eventually apply for the program.

“One of my undergraduate professors was a Fulbright Specialist,” says Amaya. “He would often share his thoughts on his Fulbright experiences, and I loved to hear about his time traveling and teaching in Holland.” Amaya also noted the importance of what the program stands for—to promote global understanding and implement international scholarly exchanges.

The Fulbright Program awards approximately 8,000 grants annually. Roughly 1,600 U.S. students, 4,000 foreign students, 1,200 U.S. scholars, and 900 visiting scholars receive awards, in addition to several hundred teachers and professionals. Approximately 310,000 “Fulbrighters” have participated in the Program since its inception in 1946.

“This distinction affirms my belief that the United States provides its citizens with great opportunities. It also affirms my father’s faith in the nation that welcomed him when he emigrated here from Mexico when he was eight years old. He always told me that getting an education would take me places I couldn’t even imagine. He was right!  I also think it exhibits the commitment of the United States to work with overseas academic institutions to improve the state of education beyond our borders.”

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by then-Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

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