Ellie Keating ’23 Awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship
A Spanish major and environmental studies minor, she is one of four Fords to be accepted into the prestigious international program for the 2023-2024 academic year.
For Ellie Keating ’23 a semester in Madrid as part of a study abroad program sparked an affection for the city she calls “a cultural hub,” fueling the pursuit of a more immersive experience.
The result? Keating is one of four Fords who are headed abroad this fall as Fulbright Scholars. She received an English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) and will be placed in a yet-to-be determined high school classroom in Madrid beginning in September.
“I was trying to figure out how I could give back to Spain after such a great semester,” says Keating, a Haverford senior majoring in Spanish and minoring in environmental studies. “And I've also always been interested in politics and communications. Fulbright just seemed like the optimal opportunity to expand my own knowledge and then also be a productive educator.”
Fulbright scholars help the communities they serve while providing real-life opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue. In partnership with more than 140 countries worldwide, the Fulbright program offers graduate study, research, and teaching opportunities abroad in a variety of academic disciplines to passionate and accomplished graduating college seniors, graduate students, and young professionals from all backgrounds.
Fulbright ETAs help teach the English language while also serving as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. Keating expects to teach or assist with teaching several subjects, and to help lead the school’s Global Classrooms Model UN program as well. “I am really excited to help lead that program,” she says. “I think that will be a really good avenue for helping students grow confident with public speaking and develop their critical thinking skills.”
As part of her Fulbright application, Keating was also asked to propose an independent project outside of her ETA role. She proposed creating free “little library” boxes similar to those popping up in towns throughout the U.S., and particularly in her hometown of Montclair, N.J., and surrounding communities.
“That's probably my inspiration,” she says. “[A place] where anyone can take or leave a book. My hope is that it can be a simple, accessible system to inspire conversation around literature.”
Keating already has ideas about what she might be doing beyond her Fulbright experience. With a fluency in Spanish that was honed through her major and her time spent in Madrid, she is well positioned for the career she has mulled of late: urban planning.
“I'm drawn to it because urban planning is really interdisciplinary,” she says. “It mixes political science and economics with math and engineering and all of that with architectural design. I'm really drawn to opportunities and careers that have that blend of topics. And I will hopefully use my fluency in Spanish in those opportunities.”
Through her Spanish major at Haverford, Keating was involved with organizations that interacted with communities in Philadelphia, such as the New Sanctuary Movement, whose faith-rooted vision for immigrant justice, aids families in connecting with the resources they need, as well as leadership development and political education programs, and a Community Fund for bond and legal support.
She has also been involved in developing Spanish-language materials and videos to be shared within the city’s Latino communities.
“All of those experiences have really, really benefited me,” says Keating. “My Spanish speaking skills have evolved immensely throughout my four years at Haverford. I'm specifically interested in community and housing as the subset of urban planning, and a lot of decisions that I would be making as an urban planner would impact those Latino communities.”