Fulbright Award Will Make Kent State First Stop for International Graduate Students

Read Center Director Brings in More than $1.1 million in Fulbright Grants Since 2020

A group of 40 international graduate students will spend a month at Kent State University over the summer to learn about American higher education, before leaving to begin their graduate programs throughout the country.

“Their first stop in this country will be Kent State,” said Amanda Johnson, Ph.D., director of the Gerald H. Read Center for International and Intercultural Education within Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services.

Amanda Johnson, director of the Gerald H. Read Center for International and Intercultural Education within Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services.

The orientation program is possible due to a $230,000 Fulbright grant awarded to Johnson, as principal investigator, and co-principal investigator, Debbie Rozner, M.Ed., director of Kent State’s English as a Second Language Center (ESL). They will lead the group of Fulbright graduate students in seminars on American higher education, educational technology, leadership and other discipline-specific topics.

“We are excited to be hosting this large cohort of international graduate students for the Fulbright Pre-Academic Program to have the opportunity to showcase Kent State and the Read Center because we have the expertise to support Fulbright graduate students with unique programming of this nature,” Johnson said.

English Language Training Offered

The English as a Second Language Center will provide advanced academic English coursework for the participants.

Debbie Rozner, M.Ed., director of Kent State’s English as a Second Language Center.

“We are thrilled to be selected to host this pre-academic program at Kent State along with Amanda Johnson and her team,” Rozner said. The ESL center is often the first stop and first home for new international students, she added.

The program will serve as an orientation for the students to learn about what to expect when they get to their destination schools. With its friendly campus, and welcoming faculty and staff, Kent State is a great launchpad for international students to learn about the American system of higher education, Rozner said.

“Ohio is my home state, so it’s always exciting to welcome international visitors to Ohio,” she said.

Most of the students are considered to have advanced proficiency in English, but ELS staff will help them to refine their skills.

“University culture can vary greatly from country to country,” she said. Part of the program will educate the students and build their confidence in knowing how to function in an American academic setting. Topics will include learning what resources are available and how to access them through libraries and other student support offices.

After the initial year, Kent State is eligible to receive the grant for up to five years.

Second Fulbright for Read Center

This is the second Fulbright grant Johnson has been awarded for the Read Center. She and co-principal investigator Marty Jencius, Ph.D., associate professor of counseling education and supervision, recently were re-awarded the Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) grant for the 2023 Fall Semester.

Kent State faculty and staff who took part in the 2022 Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program.

The Fulbright TEA program is a six-week program focused on general teaching principles for international secondary teachers.

As part of the TEA program, 23 secondary education teachers from throughout the world will travel to Kent State in September to take customized seminars on K-12 education in the U. S., science education and English language teaching and learning. They will also take part in intensive field experiences in local high schools.

Laylo Rahimova, a high school English teacher in Tajikistan, was one of 17 fellows from Eastern Europe and Central Asia who were part of the 2022 spring cohort for the TEA program.

Laylo Rahimova, a high school English teacher in Tajikistan, was a 2022 Fulbright fellow at Kent State University.

Rahimova took part in lectures on academic topics, including media literacy, and shared her thoughts and excitement about the program.

“I plan to pass on the knowledge and experience I have gained to high school students, teachers, and anyone else who wants to be of service to everyone,” she said. “The information and knowledge I have gained has made a huge impact on my life and work. I now have a great deal of confidence in myself as I can tell the difference between false information and correct information and can deliver all the information with confidence to my students.”

September’s group will mark the fourth time Johnson has secured the TEA program award since becoming Read Center director in 2020. Between both programs, Johnson has brought in more than $1.1. million in Fulbright grants for the center.


Learn More About Fulbrights

Fulbright awards are issued through the U.S. State Department to encourage international connections and exchange through educational programs.

Students, faculty and staff who are interested in learning more about Fulbright programs or how to apply can attend informational sessions being held from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 1, in Room 315 (faculty and staff) and Room 316 (students) of the Kent Student Center.

For more information on the student session, contact Frank Congin, assistant dean of Honors College, at 330-672-8067 or fcongin@kent.edu. For more information on the faculty/staff session, contact professor Brian Hayashi at 330-672-8914 or bhayashi@kent.edu.

Hayashi said the session will focus not only on how Kent State faculty or staff can study abroad, but also on opportunities to bring visiting international scholars to Kent State.

Visit https://us.fulbrightonline.org/ or https://eca.state.gov/fulbright to learn more about Fulbright programs.

POSTED: Wednesday, February 22, 2023 02:59 PM
Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2023 02:33 PM
Lisa Abraham