"I’m most excited for the opportunity to join a network of leaders, changemakers, and engaged citizens as part of the Fulbright community,” says Patrick Long, a student in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration (HESA) graduate program at the University of Vermont.
Although his specific placement will not be finalized until this summer, Patrick will be part of an English Teaching Assistantship program in South Korea. “I will be trained in ESL (English as Second Language) and working to build the capacity of English education in the Korean school system,” he explains.
Caught up in the euphoria of the recent news of his award, Patrick describes his current state of mind as beyond excited and caught in a state of disbelief. “The Fulbright program always seemed this unattainable and prestigious thing, so far from my reach. It’s surreal to consider how Fulbright is no longer some amazing opportunity I read about; it’s something I am going to be a part of in reality.”
He’s also excited about the opportunity to live with a Korean family, so he can be immersed in his host country’s culture as much as possible.
Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, Patrick earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Appalachian State University. When deciding where he wanted to attend graduate school, his first choice was clear.
“I was drawn to the HESA program at UVM for its academic rigor, focus in social justice and inclusion, its engaging faculty, and the large amounts of practical experience built into the program,” he says. “Our program has a reputation as one of the best programs in the field and is known for creating leaders in student affairs. Even though I interviewed at a couple different institutions, after my UVM interview, I knew this was the only choice for me.”
Patrick feels empowered and inspired by the people he encounters in the HESA program. “I never had faculty members care or believe in me so much before I came to this program. This program is difficult, but for a reason. The faculty challenged me to push boundaries and empowered me to trust in my own abilities. They helped me find my voice again and showed me the perspective and power I can bring to academic and professional spaces.”
“At the core of the UVM HESA program is our desire for students to discover their place in the world, embedding reflection and justice as transformative elements,” says Dr. Jay Garvey, an assistant professor in the HESA program. “I am of course proud of Patrick’s achievement in being awarded a Fulbright, yet what brings me the most joy is witnessing his personal and professional growth throughout his graduate education. I am so grateful for having the opportunity to work with Patrick, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for him.”
Currently, Patrick works as a graduate assistant in the UVM Career Center, an experience he describes as the “most rewarding and life-changing aspect” of his time at UVM.
“My main influences and inspirations are the HESA faculty and the staff at the UVM Career Center. My HESA professors, Dr. Tracy Ballysingh and Dr. Jay Garvey, gave me the space to grow as an academic and inspired me to explore my passions through writing. The staff at the Career Center, especially my supervisor Lisa Torchiano, are always in my corner. They were welcoming, supportive, and inspire me to work in career development in the future.”
Following the Fulbright experience in South Korea, Patrick says that he plans to shift back into higher education, specifically within career counseling.
“In the long term, I am open to working both inside higher education or within the non-profit or governmental sectors. As long as I am part of a values-driven organization where I can work to empower others to make meaning and find purpose, the rest will fall into place.”