econd Fulbright Scholarship Recipient Announced

April 24, 2012


BUFFALO, NY – Canisius College students Justyn Bellitto ’12 and Kara George MSED ’12 are recipients of prestigious J. William Fulbright Scholarships for 2012-2013. 

The J. William Fulbright Scholarship is named for Senator J. William Fulbright and is the U.S. government’s premier scholarship program. It is designed to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges, which provide recipients with tuition, fees, travel and research funds for a full year. 

Bellitto is a Spanish and international relations dual major at Canisius. He will use his Fulbright to work as an English teaching assistant in Colombia. Bellitto requested to teach in Colombia “in order to comprehend a misunderstood country and witness the positive changes occurring.” The experience, says Bellitto, will also be “ideal for improving (his) Spanish language skills through interaction with native speakers and seeing the effects that globalization and development have had on the country.” 

This will be the second international teaching experience for Bellitto. He spent a semester abroad at the University of Oviedo in Spain, during his junior year. In addition to attending classes, Bellitto student-taught children, age six – 18, at a private preparatory school. He aided the English teacher by reading, simulating conversations and correcting papers. In addition, he gave class presentations on such topics as cultural stereotypes and American holidays. 

Bellitto also teaches English as an employee of MyLinkFace, a student-run, non-profit enterprise at Canisius, which uses webcam technology to teach English to students and professionals at Sogang University. 

“Teaching in both Spain and through MyLinkFace has opened my eyes not only to a possible future in teaching English, but also the role of English in the context of a globalized world,” says Bellitto. “The English language is one of the driving forces behind globalization. At its core, teaching is a form of human development that empowers individuals to take part in an increasingly connected world.” 

Following his Fulbright experience, Bellitto plans to pursue graduate studies in international political economy, with a focus on globalization and development in order to analyze the role these paradigms play in daily life.

George is pursuing a master’s degree in adolescent education (with a Spanish concentration) at Canisius. She will conduct research in Spain as an English teaching assistant, where she will learn methods of teaching a foreign language through practical experience. 

George seeks to immerse herself in the Spanish language to learn to employ its colloquialisms, humor and nuances. She will offer her students in Spain “the benefit of learning English from a native speaker and serve as a linguistic and cultural resource.” George also hopes to improve her “personal knowledge of Spain’s rich traditions, customs and dialects, to help make (her) teaching come to life.” 

George, who grew up on a dairy farm, will also bring one of her own traditions to her students in Spain. “To promote a stronger bond between the students and myself, and to teach both inside the classroom, I would like to build a student garden,” she says. 

Through the Americorp Builds Lives Though Education Program, George gained practical experience as a teaching assistant at Tapestry Charter School in Buffalo. She started a school book club and worked with the student government. 

George holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and agriculture and natural resources from Berea College, where she graduated magna cum laude in 2010. As an undergraduate student, George previously studied abroad for three weeks in San Carlos, Costa Rica, during which time she observed classroom resources, activities and procedures to note cultural similarities and differences. 

Following her Fulbright experience, George plans to teach Spanish to high school students and continue to read and learn about Spanish. 

Canisius College is one of 28 Catholic, Jesuit colleges in the nation and the premier private college in Western New York. Canisius prepares leaders – intelligent, caring, faithful individuals – able to pursue and promote excellence in their professions, their communities and their service to humanity.