April 26, 2022

Olivia McGaw ’22, a Spanish studies major seeking K-12 teaching certification, has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award in Spain.

“When I got the notification from Fulbright that I was a finalist, I was ecstatic,” McGaw said. “I had been waiting so long for this decision, since October when I submitted my application, that when it finally came it didn’t feel real.”

Each year, the Fulbright Commission receives approximately 10,000 applications and presents an average of 2,000 awards for students to conduct research, study or teach abroad in more than 160 countries worldwide.

McGaw, from Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, will use her Fulbright to build upon her recent study-abroad experience in Spain. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in teaching English as a second language as preparation for a career working in migrant education. McGaw said her interest for migrant education began when she volunteered to teach English as a second language classes at the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit. Almost all her students were Spanish speakers.

“I realized that I could make a real difference with my Spanish skills if I go into a field that works with individuals whose first language is not English,” McGaw said. “I was so inspired by all my students and the hard work that they were putting in to learn English.”

McGaw plans to teach Spanish as a second language to immigrants in Spain as her Fulbright service project.

“This experience next year will further strengthen my foreign language teaching skills and my understanding of the experiences of immigrants in a cross-cultural context,” McGaw said.

Karol Weaver, professor of history, leads Susquehanna’s program that is dedicated to nurturing potential scholarship applicants and supporting them through the application process. McGaw also received support throughout the application process from education and Spanish faculty, as well as SU’s Career Development Center.