Brandi Taylor ’19, MAT ’20 is the recipient of a 2019 U.S. Student Fulbright Award to Kenya, where she will serve as an English Teaching Assistant beginning in January 2020.
Taylor, who has aspired to win a Fulbright fellowship since high school, studied in Kenya during a short-term HWS abroad program in 2018. She says that “being introduced to the culture and the diversity” in the country inspired her to return there as a Fulbright Fellow “to reflect on my positionality in the world” and “learn the role that Kenya’s culture plays within Black communities in the United States.”
Through the Teacher Education Program at HWS, Taylor has “taken a wide range of classes that focus on different methods of teaching,” alongside teaching practicums in a range of environments. With that background, “I have come to believe that it is extremely important to understand that each student is unique and will need different support and resources,” she says.
In Kenya, she plans to implement an afterschool program focused on poetry, offering “students room to reflect and write about the comforts, struggles and worries they may have,” she says. “This can be used as time students can meditate, increasing a sense of belonging and wellbeing, at the same time as practicing and strengthening their English.
An English and Africana studies major, Taylor is completing an independent study titled “Education for Liberation: Anti-Colonial Curriculum.” Taylor is former president of Sankofa: Black Students’ Union, co-founder of the M.O.C.A: Millennials of Color Assembly and has worked in the HWS Office of Student Activities, staffing the LGBTQ+ Resource Center. She is the recipient of a number honors and awards, including the Sill Family Endowed Fellowship, the Posse Foundation Scholarship and Richard Seth Abramson Intense Musical Study Award. In the community, Taylor has worked with Mosaic NY: Theater for Social Change, The Smith Center for the Arts, America Reads and the YMCA Summer Camp in Geneva.
Taylor is one of six HWS students to receive a 2019 Fulbright Award. Profiles of the other 2019 recipients will continue to be published on the HWS Update throughout the spring semester.
The Fulbright Program is the U.S. Government’s flagship international exchange program. Created in 1949, the program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and numerous nations around the world. Participants are chosen for their academic merit and leadership qualities, and are given the opportunity to study, live, teach and conduct research abroad for one year in order to exchange ideas and seek solutions to shared global concerns.
In 2018, for the third year in a row, Hobart and William Smith were recognized as one of the nation’s top colleges and universities with the most recipients of U.S. Fulbright Student Awards.
HWS students interested in applying for Fulbright awards should contact the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education at firstname.lastname@example.org.