Pace University Alumni Receive Fulbright Awards To Study Abroad
Two Pace University alumni are studying abroad after receiving the prestigious Fulbright Award. Gerrard James, an alumnus of The Actors Studio Drama School (ASDS) at Pace, has received a Fulbright Award to study classical acting at Oxford University in London. Sabrina Vasques, an alumna of Pace's College of Health Professions, has been awarded a teaching assistantship in Ecuador.
"Gerrard and Sabrina are continuing a proud tradition of Pace students embodying the ideals of the Fulbright program and creating pathways of study and educational exchange between the US and other countries," said Pace Provost Vanya Quiñones, PhD. "We are proud of them and looking forward to seeing their contributions through their courses of study and work."
Dean Harriet R. Feldman, PhD, RN, FAAN, of the College of Health Professions said, "Sabrina Vasques is a shining example of our graduates at Pace-ambitious and always looking for ways to help her community. Her Fulbright teaching assistantship will allow her to positively impact the people of Ecuador and beyond."
Vasques works at the Bellevue Project for Early Language, Literacy, and Education Success (BELLE) Lab at New York University School of Medicine as a parent-child interventionist. She works to reduce poverty-related disparities in child development by strengthening the parent-child bond and enhancing cognitive and language development in young children. "I've worked with a lot of Latino Spanish-speaking families here, including many immigrant families," said Vasques. "Working with these individuals inspired me to give back to this community in a greater way. Ecuador is working hard to close the literacy gap, especially among indigenous populations. I want to be able to contribute to this change, and will volunteer with organizations that work to bring literacy to children and adults when I am not teaching English. I strongly believe that education and equality are the key factors in broadening individuals' understanding of the world, which is why I want to continue language development outreach in Ecuador while undertaking my English Teaching Assistantship. I really hope to be able to engage with students and show them the importance of being able to speak a second language. I want them to be able to see that this will not only open doors to getting better jobs, but will allow them to make connections with other individuals from all walks of life."
Vasques says she is excited to fully immerse herself in the Ecuadorian culture and strengthen her teaching skills. She would like to eventually work in a university setting. "I would like to come back to the United States to study speech language pathology," said Vasques. "My experience in working in Ecuador's literacy development organizations and serving as an English teaching assistant will guide me in my future career as a practicing speech language pathologist. I would love to work with Spanish-speaking clients in underserved communities specifically in a hospital setting."
James says he is honored and grateful to receive the award. "It is not lost on me that J. William Fulbright also studied in the United Kingdom where he earned his masters at Oxford University," said James. "This sparked his desire to eventually create the Fulbright Program, which gives recipients the opportunity to build mutual understanding with other countries. I am in the fortunate position to build upon my dream of diversifying both American theater culture and British film culture to further unite the artistic industries in both countries."
James' career path has not been a traditional one. He holds a bachelor's degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and upon graduation, he majored in finance and worked at JPMorgan Chase in the hedge fund department before making the move to New York to chase his dream of acting. He says The Actors Studio Drama School (ASDS) gave him incredible tools to work as a professional actor.
Andreas Manolikakis, chair of ASDS, said: "We are thrilled that our alumnus, Gerrard James, has been chosen for the 2019 Fulbright John Wood LAMDA Award in Classical Acting. Our master's in fine arts program offers a training path for our students to discover, liberate, and disclose their individual expression in the most personal and profound way. During his three years of study with us, Gerrard embodied the talent, sensitivity, imagination, courage, openness, and complete dedication that allowed him to deeply benefit from all we have to offer. We are all very proud and happy for Gerrard and we wish him every success in London."
Jennifer Irwin of Pace's Office of Student Success said: "I am so happy for both Gerrard and Sabrina. They are both going to embark on an amazing journey, building upon the experience they started here at Pace. It is another example of the great caliber of students we have at Pace-students who are passionate, curious, global-minded, and committed to furthering themselves, and I am thrilled that we can be a part of and support their success."
James received his master's degree in fine arts from Pace's ASDS in 2017. Vasques earned her bachelor's degree from Pace's College of Health Professions in 2017. She studied communication sciences and disorders.
About The Fulbright Program: The Fulbright Program is an international educational exchange program sponsored and managed by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries under policy guidelines established by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FSB) and in cooperation with a number of private organizations. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields. The Fulbright Program awards approximately 8,000 grants annually to undertake graduate study, advanced research, university lecturing, and classroom teaching. Roughly 1,600 US students, 4,000 foreign students, 1,200 US scholars, and 900 visiting scholars receive awards, in addition to several hundred teachers and professionals each year, to travel to approximately 130 countries, where they lecture and/or conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. Select Pace University students have been receiving the Fulbright award for the past 17 consecutive years. For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit http://eca.state.gov/fulbright.
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