McGrath Wins Fulbright Fellowship

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Apr. 22, 2014 – Coker College alumna Melanie McGrath has been granted a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship for the 2014-15 academic year. She will be teaching English to high school students in Andorra, a small country in the Pyrenees mountains.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international education exchange program. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Participants are chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential.

Originally from Marion, McGrath currently teaches high school English in the Charleston County School District. She graduated from Coker in December 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Education and a minor in History.

“Melanie provides us with a perfect example what the Coker College model of higher education can do for its graduates,” said Kevin Kenyon, associate professor of history. “Her experience at Coker was the ideal combination of professional training in a major field and broad education in the liberal arts—an experience that is aimed at life-long intellectual engagement.

“Hard-working, intellectual and level-headed, she is in many ways the perfect Fulbright candidate. Her professors in the English and History programs as well as those in the Wiggins School of Education could not be more happy about her great accomplishment.”

McGrath first became interested in Andorra while on a Coker study abroad trip to Catalonia in 2012. After returning to Coker, she completed an independent study course on Pyrenean history and decided to pursue the Fulbright Program.

“When I found out I had been accepted, I couldn’t believe it,” said McGrath. “It took me a few days to actually absorb that I’ve been given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. No matter how hard it is to leave all of my students behind, I am really, really excited about it.

“Without Coker’s one-on-one experience, there is no way it would have happened. It was a natural process just because of the environment that Coker offers.”

Fulbright scholars are chosen through a rigorous application process that requires approval from the Fulbright National Screening Committee, the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, which is appointed by the President of the United States.

Located between France and Spain, Andorra is the sixth smallest nation in Europe. The official language is Catalan, although Spanish, French and Portuguese are also commonly spoken.

Release written by content manager and writer, Laura Hoxworth.

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Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

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