Record Fourth Dyson Student Awarded Fulbright Scholarship
— Melynie Welch ‘07
“Through the Fulbright program, I can help break down the barriers between France and the United States one student at a time,” says Melynie Welch ‘07. With a large worldview, she sees this fellowship as an opportunity to help change attitudes. “Beyond understanding other cultures, I want to act as a type of cultural ambassador, opening up the minds and hearts of my students and contributing to making the world more open and respectful.”
Welch’s Fulbright teaching assistantship takes her to Versailles, France, where she will teach English as a foreign language to school children between the ages of 11 to 18.
An English major (Pleasantville campus), Welch excelled as a student with a 4.0 GPA. English Department Chair Rebecca Martin says, “The department is proud of and happy for Melynie. Because of her strong interest in French culture and in travel, some of her instructors have enriched their own experience by working independently with her, exploring areas such as travel writing and contemporary French culture.”
Breaking down stereotypes one meal at a time
No stranger to France, Welch lived there as an au pair and English language tutor for one and a half years and speaks French fluently. During this time, she began a tradition of introducing French friends to American culture through food. “I started a tradition of making large dinners for friends so that they could sample real American fare; one of these dinners was to celebrate Thanksgiving. While the food was a big aspect of this occasion, I also explained the history and current tradition of this American holiday. I return to France each fall to continue this tradition, which has grown every year.”
An opportunity to gain personally and professionally
“Being a Fulbright scholar gives me the opportunity to return to a country that I love, work on my French fluency, and enjoy great French food and wine. Hopefully, I can also play some Petanque (a French game that is like Bocce). While my focus would be on the students, I know that this Fulbright scholarship will also give me an opportunity to learn from the students, the culture, and the teachers of France.”
“I was encouraged and aided by many professors throughout this process: Dr. Rebecca Martin, Dr. Bette Kirschstein, Dr. Kathleen Maria, Dr. Geraldine O’Neill, and within the international department, Dr. Beverly Kahn and Elaine Scanlon. Without them I would not have this amazing opportunity,” she adds.
A bright future
Upon her return to the U.S., Welch is considering pursuing a master’s degree in social work with an eye toward becoming a family therapist.
Read about all Dyson’s Fulbright Scholars