University of Vermont

CESS's Brian Vedder Fulbright Recipient

The College of Education and Social Services (CESS) is proud to announce that Brian C. Vedder, a graduating senior in CESS’s Secondary English Education Program, and a student in the Honors College, has been chosen to participate in the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program (ETA). Administered through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the English Teaching Assistantship is a competitive and highly coveted honor, awarded to top recent college graduates, Master’s and Doctoral candidates, as well as other young dedicated professionals, to live and teach for one academic year in a participating country outside the U.S.  Brian chose Thailand for his host country, in part, he said, because it was English speaking, but mainly, for the opportunity to teach in a high school.

The process for the grant, Brian said, was demanding and time-consuming, taking up most of his senior year in crafting and honing his application.  Included was a call to supply a “Statement of Grant” purpose, explaining his reasons for seeking the assistantship, and why Thailand was his choice.  He said he was able to draw upon his previous foreign travel in South Africa, his research into Thailand’s education and technology policies and practices, as well as his educational experiences at UVM and CESS, to frame his responses. 

Brian expressed special appreciation to CESS professors Alan Tinkler and Holly-Lynn Busier for, he says, “constructing the foundation I needed to aim so high.” He especially singled out Dr. Busier as the one person who most “triggered my interest in education.”  He also credited Barri Tinkler, CESS Assistant Professor of Education, for making the suggestion and encouraging him to apply for the award.  And to Britten Chase, from the Honors College, who guided him and others in a series of workshops designed to help students through the daunting Fulbright grant application process. 

Brian will be leaving for Thailand on September 25th.  He explained that he would remain in Bangkok for a four-week orientation period, before traveling to his final destination outside the major city, to a place as yet undetermined.  His orientation will include Thai language study, ESL teaching techniques, and Thai cultural issues.  Because the Thai school year does not coincide with the U.S., he will be starting at the beginning of the second semester of this academic year, and finish at the end of the first semester next year.  In addition, he said, during the Thai summer school vacation, he and other Fulbright grantees are expected to participate in other activities, which might include an internship or involvement in an English summer camp, other outreach and/or related community activities. 

On a personal note, Brian is looking forward not only to his year teaching in a foreign country, but to what he stands to gain from the experience in personal learning and the acquisition of cultural knowledge. He plans to remain an astute observer and diligent student throughout, expecting to turn his time there into a wide array of writing projects. 

“Overall, I am ecstatic,” Brian, says. “I still do not believer this is happening to me.”  Coming from a small town in upstate New York, growing up with his two caring sisters, Heather and Hope, and Meg, his “unbelievably gifted mother,” Brian is quick to express his gratitude to all those who have helped him at every step along the way to achieve so much by this time in his life.  “I love to travel,” he says, “and teaching has been my dream for quite some time.”  He welcomes now the opportunity to do both. 

Brian is currently putting the finishing touches on his Honors College Thesis.  On May 17th he will be recognized during the Honors College Scholars Recognition Ceremony, as President of the International Honor Society in Education, Kappa Delta Pi, and receive his diploma on May 18th during the College of Education and Social Services ceremony immediately following the University of Vermont’s 213th Commencement ceremony. 

After completing his Fulbright, Brian is considering several options.  He says he plans to look into City Year Sacramento, the Peace Corps, graduate school, as well as teaching positions both at the secondary and post-secondary levels, as well as continue his writing.  Given what he has accomplished so far, with his proven determination and talent, there is no doubt but that he will succeed at whatever next step he chooses to take.

We at CESS wish him the very best in all his endeavors as he travels along his future pathways.