A recent Diplomacy graduate has joined the growing list of Seton Hall students, faculty and alumni who are Fulbright Scholars. Christopher Mazzacane, who earned a Bachelor's of Science in Diplomacy and International Relations with a Spanish minor, graduated Summa Cum Laude in December. As a Fulbright Scholar, Mazzacane will be teaching English in Argentina in 2018.
Mazzacane, who grew up in West Haven, Connecticut, was drawn to Seton Hall by its close proximity to New York City and its well-regarded diplomacy program. "Seton Hall offered a good location and a great diplomacy school, and I wanted to be a part of that," he explains.
During college, Mazzacane was active in several student organizations and programs. As a freshman, he joined Amnesty International and sang in the Seton Hall choir. Later, he became a peer advisor and a tutor in the Academic Resource Center. During his senior year, Mazzacane, wrote for the Stillman Exchange. In addition to his involvement on campus, Mazzacane also interned for New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, where he worked alongside a staff member who was also a Seton Hall alum.
Mazzacane cites his involvement as a volunteer with the local "Head Start" program in his hometown as a source of inspiration for his passion for the education field. Mazzacane said, "I realized how much I loved teaching and wanted to find a way into education."
Combining Diplomacy and Education as a Fulbright Scholarship seemed like the perfect fit. The Fulbright program awards thousands of grants to outstanding students and professionals each year, allowing them to engage in advanced research and teaching worldwide. Mazzacane first learned of the Fulbright scholarship opportunity when he attended an information session during his freshman year. After gaining more experience through his campus involvement and volunteer work, he decided to pursue the scholarship seriously.
"I am really grateful that Seton Hall took my application seriously and that I wasn't going through the process alone. I think that made the Fulbright more achievable."
Throughout the application process, Mazzacane had extensive help from several faculty members who encouraged him to apply for the scholarship. Mazzacane exchanged countless emails with Diplomacy professor Martin Edwards, who also wrote one of his recommendation letters. He received additional support from his English professor, Gita Dasbender, and Marisa Case of Freshman Studies.
Mazzacane is looking forward to returning to South
America. During his junior year, he had the opportunity to study abroad
in Argentina for four months and lived with a host family, allowing him
to improve his Spanish and gain a real world perspective on diplomacy.
"Every night at dinner we would talk about the political and economic
situation of the country," Mazzacane remembers." "I got the chance to
ask a lot of questions about daily life by living with an Argentinian
Mazzacane also had the opportunity to attend classes taught in Spanish by professors at the University of Belgrano in Buenos Aires.
Enthusiastic about the chance to contribute to Argentina's education system, Mazzacane has some innovative ideas he would like to bring to the school where he will be working, "I want to use theater and musicals to introduce students to different ways of using English in their culture. I felt that Argentina would be open to this teaching strategy because of their respect for the arts and culture."
Mazzacane's teaching assignment begins in 2018 and runs for nine months. Following the completion of his Fulbright program, Mazzacane plans to pursue a Master's degree in education and eventually become a full-time teacher in the United States.
Though his ultimate career goal is focused on education, Mazzacane plans to continue applying his diplomacy education to his career. "The fact that I have an international relations background will be beneficial to my students because I can teach in different ways or share information that I learned," said Mazzacane.
Seton Hall prepared Mazzacane for his next step in more ways than one. Reflecting on his next experience in Argentina, Mazzacane said, "I'm thankful to Seton Hall and my professors who came together and helped and encouraged me and kept working with me all along."