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Press Release: Pace University Alumna Receives Fulbright Scholarship

08/21/2018

Press Release: Pace University Alumna receives Fulbright Scholarship

Heather O’Connell will work in Spain as part the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching

NEW YORK (August 21, 2018)—Pace University alumna Heather O’Connell has received a Fulbright Award courtesy of the U.S. State Department and the J. William Fulbright Scholarship Board. O’Connell holds a Master’s of Science in Teaching (MST) from Pace University’s School of Education. She graduated in 2007 and currently teaches high school science and math at a public charter school in Kona, Hawaii.

“I am thrilled to have received this honor and extremely excited about this culturally enriching opportunity,” O’Connell said. “I look forward to broadening my worldview and fostering connections with the local culture while becoming a better educator and individual.”

O’Connell and 20 other U.S. citizens will go abroad as part of a short-term teaching program running from September-October of this year. She received a grant to work in Santiago de Compostela Spain, where she will be working with CAFI - the Regional Center for Teacher Training and Innovation - to develop new and innovative STEM curriculum. She hopes to inspire local educators to incorporate more STEM into their school programs.

“We are so pleased for Heather and all of our students who continue to find success within the Fulbright program,” said School of Education Acting Dean Xiao-Lei Wang. “It is an affirmation of Pace School of Education’s commitment to educating global-minded teachers.”

After graduating from Pace, O’Connell taught both middle school and high school science at Soundview Preparatory School in Mount Kisco, New York. During that time, she founded a Habitat for Humanity club and traveled to Nicaragua with a group of students to build homes for the community. She believes that when students explore curriculum in the context of culture and the world around them, that the content becomes more engaging.

“My love for natural science exists along with a cultural curiosity and I aspire to have students discover science through culture,” O’Connell said. “My educational philosophy includes integration that focuses on Ethnomathematics, or teaching math and science through a cultural lens.”

O’Connell has been teaching in Hawaii since 2010 and hopes to share her Fulbright experience with her Hawaiian students to inspire them to take on global projects.

“I've benefited from immersing myself in another culture and would love to share that experience with students,” O’Connell added. “But even if students can't travel, they can still learn about other cultures in activities, lessons, and projects.”

Since 2002, 48 Pace University students have received he prestigious Fulbright Scholarship.

About the School of Education: For more than fifty years, Pace University’s School of Education has prepared students to not only meet the requirements for teaching certification, but to also be agents of change and lifelong learning. Through small classes, enriched fieldwork, and international experiences, School of Education graduates are well-prepared to make a difference in the world. Guided by nationally and internationally renowned faculty, School of Education students have developed cutting-edge instructional knowledge and skills that are essential in 21st century K-12 classrooms.

About the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program: The Fulbright program sends U.S. teachers abroad and brings international teachers to the United States for a semester of independent study and professional development focused on sharing international best practices and developing students’ global competence. Based at university-level schools of education or other educational institutions in the host country, participants complete an inquiry project, take courses, share their expertise with local teachers and students, and engage in action planning to implement what they learn on the program when they return home. For more information, visit: http://eca.state.gov/fulbright

Follow Pace’s Office of Media Relations on Twitter at @PaceUnews or on the web: www.pace.edu/news.