Three New College Students Win Fulbright Awards
by David Gulliver
Three students at New College of Florida have been awarded prestigious Fulbright grants for 2018 and will study and work in Taiwan and Croatia.
Miles Iton, of Homestead, Florida, received a Fulbright Research Fellowship to Taiwan. Megan Bailey of Miramar, Florida, and Liliana Solomon of South Orange, New Jersey, received Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships, to Taiwan and Croatia, respectively. All are expected to graduate May 18.
New College now has 47 Fulbright recipients in the last 10 years, and 81 in its history. Here are snapshots of New College’s award-winning students this academic year:
Megan Bailey, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, Taiwan
Megan Bailey has been absorbing other languages all her life. Growing up in a multiethnic neighborhood in Miramar, Florida, she routinely heard friends and teammates speaking Creole, Spanish and Tagalog every day. That appreciation of language and culture is leading her to teach, as a first step toward a career of improving children’s lives.
At New College, Bailey majored in international studies and Chinese language, and became an advanced speaker of Mandarin, studying for one semester in Beijing. She also began to augment the teaching skills that began during her nine years as a Girl Scout. Bailey taught Chinese to children in the College’s day care center, and taught Chinese history and mythology during a teaching internship at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Bradenton. She also volunteered at the Humane Society of Sarasota.
Bailey will be traveling to Taiwan for a Fulbright English teaching assistantship and hopes to be placed in a rural or underserved community in the country’s eastern coast.
She sees her Fulbright teaching assistantship as the start of path toward being a “global citizen,” promoting mutual understanding. “While I love teaching children, my long-term goal is to work at a nonprofit global organization that focuses on children’s well-being around the world, such as UNICEF or the International Rescue Committee,” she said. “My lifetime intention is to have a positive impact on as many people as possible.”
Miles Iton, Fulbright Research Fellow in Taiwan
At New College, Miles Iton has become an entrepreneur melding academics and entertainment, while encouraging diversity and tolerance.
Iton was co-president of the student government and founder of the Black Student Union, and a coordinator of the regional Million Hoodies March for Justice. He also excelled in the classroom, developing a series of courses on hip-hop composition and cultural education that drew praise from his faculty advisors. He also is the producer and director of “Sincerely, The Black Kids,” a documentary on the challenges black student government leaders face nationwide.
Iton will study in the Creative Master's Design program at National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan, which offers an arts administration curriculum applicable in fields including publishing and intellectual property.
While there, he plans to become involved in the region’s music scene, hosting concerts and launching a web series on being a black American studying in Asia. “I look to involve myself in activities that will build bridges of understanding between Taiwan/Cheng Kung and the international black experience,” he said. “I see an excellent opportunity to engender a creative field capable of facilitating a fairly rare interplay between dialects in Mandarin and African American Vernacular English.”
He hopes the Fulbright year will let him begin developing a program where higher education could be a bridge for creative students to enter the entertainment field. An academic grounding in the composition and social influence of music would help students become a next generation of informed performers or businesspeople.
He also hopes to prepare a business plan for his n.e.Bodied Entertainment imprint, and to prepare for law school and the study of intellectual property and entertainment law.
Liliana Solomon, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Croatia
Lily Solomon loves stories and language, and her Fulbright path could be an epic novel, beginning with a grandmother traveling to Croatia and bringing a suitcase of books back to America.
Her grandmother was a children’s librarian, and her grandfather an arts teacher and a Fulbright scholar himself. Inspired by the Yugoslav government’s plan to preserve Croatian language, they devoted themselves to the effort. Solomon’s mother told her the family stories, launching her research into the history and culture.
The family passion for education and teaching stayed with her. Last year, Solomon was an instructor in Amherst College’s Great Books Summer Program, working with high school students from 40 different countries. Locally, she has tutored foreign students at IMG Sports Academy, and taught a class at New College on graphic novels.
“I am passionate about language learning, and how being multilingual contributes to cross-cultural success around the world,” she said, and sees her Fulbright teaching assistantship as a way to better understand and prepare for language learning.
Croatia is a leading country in language learning – most students learn two or more languages, plus ancient Greek or Latin – and she wants to bring that success back to to the United States.
After she returns, Solomon plans to pursue a career in children's book publishing, focusing on educational materials and language learning books. “I want to introduce a new type of children's book into the popular market -- one that familiarizes young children with new languages and cultures,” she said. Later, she wants to work on alternative forms of education, focusing on multilingual learning in schools, and giving students more exposure to other cultures, encouraging them to study further.