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Senior Earns Prestigious Fulbright Award to Teach in South Africa

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 9, 2016) – University at Albany student Chante Mayers-Barbot is punching her ticket back to South Africa.

The soon-to-be graduating senior has received a coveted Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) scholarship. Through the program, she will be teaching English in South Africa as a United States cultural ambassador in 2017.       

Chante Mayers-Barbot stands in front of a statue of Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa. She will be returning to the country on a Fulbright ETA scholarship.

It will be a return trip for Mayers-Barbot, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., who fell in love with the country during a study abroad semester her junior year.

“My time in South Africa was simply amazing. I did not want to leave,” Mayers-Barbot said. “This [Fulbright] opportunity was practically calling my name. Through the ETA program, I will be able to once again immerse myself in South African culture. It’s a blessing and an honor to receive such a prestigious scholarship.”

Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential. The program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is designed to build relations between people of the United States and the people of other countries that are needed to solve global challenges.

As a first-generation EOP student, and sociology major, Mayers-Barbot has a passion for helping others. Combined with her excellence in academics, she was an ideal fit for Fulbright.

At UAlbany, she has served as a tutor in the University’s Science & Technology Entry Program, encouraged classmates to study abroad as an AIR (UAlbany International Representative), and joined the University’s Chi Alpha Epsilon and Alpha Kappa Delta honor societies. Off-campus, she’s volunteered as a student representative for Bottom Line, a non-profit designed to help low-income and first-generation students enroll, and stay in college.

As a Fulbright student, Mayers-Barbot plans to continue serving as a resource for those who need her most. When abroad in South Africa previously, she sought out public engagement opportunities, including tutoring and mentoring primary-aged children, and donating essential items to those in improvised townships.

“Someone's socioeconomic status can greatly affect the resources or opportunities available to them,” Mayers-Barbot said. “I believe that education is the most effective way for social change and development of a society. My goal as a Fulbright ETA is to have a reciprocal experience, to learn as much as I teach, while increasing mutual understanding amongst America and South Africa.”

Mayers-Barbot is one of more than 1,900 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad in the 2016-2017 academic year through Fulbright’s U.S. Student Program. She leaves for South Africa in January 2017, and will not return to the United States until at least November 2017. The scholarship will pay for her living expenses, as well as all round-trip transportation, health benefits, and other amenities.

Following her Fulbright opportunity, Mayers-Barbot hopes to purse a master’s degree in international relations. She wants to stay involved with her local community, while also serving as an agent for change globally.

Current students interested in applying for the Fulbright ETA program should contact Jacqueline Ledermann in the Center for International Education and Global Strategy. Additional information on UAlbany’s study abroad program is available here.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.