Covenant Alumnus Seth Morgan ’09 Awarded Prestigious Fulbright Grant
Seth Morgan '09 received a Fulbright grant to Tajikistan, where he will undertake an English teaching assistantship for the 2010-2011 academic year.
Morgan is the fourth Covenant graduate to receive a grant from the Fulbright Program, supported by the U.S. Department of State. In the last six years, Ben Borger '04 went to the Philippines, Gabi Van Schoyck '08 to Hong Kong and Liz Tubergen '08 to Iceland, all through Fulbright grants. In addition, several faculty members are Fulbright alumni: Dr. Richard Follett, Dr. Phillip Horton, Dr. Tom Neiles and Dr. Russell Mask, an associate professor of economics and community development.
Dr. Mask is also Covenant's Fulbright Program advisor and worked with Morgan during the admission process. "Fulbright is very competitive," says Dr. Mask. "Every person that gets a Fulbright is supposed to be kind of an ambassador. They've demonstrated they care about people."
Before receiving the grant, Morgan was already working and living among diverse cultures and people groups. In college he interned in the Dominican Republic, doing research with a microfinance institution. Since graduating in 2009 he has worked at AIM Center in downtown Chattanooga as a job mentor for people of various cultures and backgrounds. He also volunteers at New City East Lake, assistant teaching and tutoring English as a second language.
Clearly, working with students in Tajikistan will be different, but also "totally consistent with his trajectory," says Dr. Mask. According to former roommate Chris Thornton '10, Morgan recognizes the complexity of our world and "is comfortable with the struggle of figuring it out. He's fearless in meeting people."
The work in Tajikistan will be a good combination of his two majors, says Morgan. "Living and working in a developing world context is something I've wanted to do, and something that the community development major prepared me to do," he says, "and then teaching English is something that interests and excites me, and is one of the reasons I continued working on my English major." After his year in Tajikistan, Morgan is considering pursuing his interest in agriculture, though he clarifies that his interests are many.
Morgan feels that Covenant College prepared him well for international work of this kind. "At Covenant I was able to learn a lot about learning. The community development major is less a set of technical skills than a worldview amplification, a preparation to view the world through the lens of combating poverty in the developing world."
The Fulbright Program aims to foster mutual understanding among the peoples of the world. Morgan believes teaching English in developing nations can be helpful in promoting such understanding, "when it's not done in a language-colonization kind of way. If you can learn English," he says, as if encouraging one of the Tajik students he is yet to meet, "you can improve your life in such significant ways."