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Seton Hall University

Diplomacy Seniors Awarded Prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Awards

Two Seton Hall University senior graduates have been awarded prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships (ETAs), competitive awards that place recent graduates and young professionals as assistants to help English teachers provide language instruction in classrooms abroad.

Senior Jasmine De Leon '24

Senior Jasmine De Leon '24

Jasmine De Leon ‘24, a double major in Diplomacy and International Relations and Catholic Studies with minors in Asian Studies and Journalism, will serve as an ETA in Taiwan, and Hamzah Khan ‘24, also a major in Diplomacy and International Relations with minors in History, Arabic and Economics, will use his ETA award to teach in Spain.

Additionally, alumna Caitlin Lacey ’23, who majored in Communication and Philosophy, has been designated as an alternate for an ETA position in Spain. An alternate is a candidate who can be promoted to a recipient if additional funding becomes available.

"We are very proud of Jasmine, Hamzah and Caitlin. These exciting young scholars embody Seton Hall’s tradition of servant leadership," said Matthew Escobar, director of Prestigious Fellowships.

Founded in 1946, the Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program and provides awards to approximately 8,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and professionals each year from the United States and 160 countries.

Supported by her extensive, nine years of study in Mandarin coupled with experience as an ESL teacher volunteer, De Leon looks forward to the opportunity and privilege to serve as a teacher and hear a range of perspectives from the students she will encounter every day.

A Bridgewater, New Jersey native, De Leon will draw from her past experiences studying abroad at Gregorian University in Rome. "This experience will be quite different, and I love trying new experiences and challenging myself. The Fulbright ETA in Taiwan will be a fantastic way to do that and build valuable skills."

"I plan to work at an intersection of religion and diplomacy. I am passionate about bridging different ideas and cultures, and I am grateful that as a Fulbright ETA, I can be a bridge," added De Leon.

Senior Hamzah Khan ‘24

Senior Hamzah Khan ‘24

 Hailing from Teaneck, New Jersey, Khan’s academic accomplishments, community engagement and leadership roles as a writing tutor, Model UN debater, editor for The Diplomatic Envoy and his participation in the DiploLab (alongside DeLeon, who was also involved during her studies) helped to cultivate the skills he will apply as an ETA.

Combined with his interest in Spain's centuries-long contact with Islam as well as its current approach to the refugee crisis, Khan looks forward to the opportunity for cultural exchange and sharing his perspective as an American and Muslim growing up in a Western County.

"I have always been interested in traveling abroad, but I’ve never had the opportunity because of financial constraints. I hope this experience will broaden my horizons and open up more opportunities for me to travel the world professionally either as a diplomat or a human rights lawyer," reflected Khan.

Looking ahead, Khan plans to apply to law school after completing his Fulbright ETA with the goal of becoming an international human rights lawyer. 

Alumna Caitlin Lacey ’23

Alumna Caitlin Lacey ’23

 Lacey, who also delivered the valedictory address for the Class of 2023, said she was shocked and honored to have received such an incredible recognition and opportunity.

"Applying for a Fulbright can be quite a daunting task, but being selected as an alternate is a wonderful reminder that with hard work, you can overcome any obstacles you face and be successful," said Lacey.

Lacey reflected that she has always been drawn to teaching and working with others, with most of her time at Seton Hall and now as an Outreach Manager for a nonprofit organization, South Carolina Student Loan, revolving around education and working with students.

Coupled with a fascination in traveling, learning about other cultures and Spain in particular, she knew a Fulbright ETA would be the perfect opportunity to combine her love for education and helping others with her passion for culture and open-mindedness.

"I fell in love with the Spanish language when I took my first Spanish class at 12 years old, and I knew this opportunity would be the perfect way to learn more about Spanish culture and to hone my Spanish-speaking skills," added Lacey.

Students interested in fellowship opportunities or the Fulbright program are welcome to contact Director of Prestigious Fellowships Matthew Escobar for more information.

Categories: Education