April 13, 2023

World Cultures & Languages Faculty to Take Their Scholarship Overseas

Maria Luisa Spicer-Escalante (left) and Karin deJonge-Kannan were selected for Fulbright programs to teach overseas.

Maria Luisa Spicer-Escalante (left) and Karin deJonge-Kannan were selected for Fulbright programs to teach overseas.

By Andrea DeHaan, CHaSS Communications Editor   

Two faculty members in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Utah State University, Principal Lecturer Karin deJonge-Kannan and Professor Maria Luisa Spicer-Escalante, are recipients of Fulbright Awards for the 2023-2024 season. The prestigious program annually selects faculty members, other professionals, and students to teach, study, and conduct research overseas.

deJonge-Kannan received a U.S. Scholar Flex Award, which will take her to Uzbekistan three times over the course of the program. Beginning later this month, she will start facilitating instructor development for Samarkand State University’s English Department.

Spicer-Escalante was selected for a U.S. Scholar Program award in TEFL Applied Linguistics to Jordan, where she will be preparing future English Foreign Language (EFL) teachers using teaching methodologies in the field of second language acquisition, her area of expertise.

According to Fulbright, deJonge-Kannan and Spicer-Escalante are “among over 800 U.S. citizens who will teach or conduct research abroad for the 2023-2024 academic year.” Fulbright alumni include numerous Nobel Prize laureates, Pulitzer Prize recipients, MacArthur Fellows, and multiple heads of state or government.

“We congratulate Dr. María Luisa Spicer-Escalante and Dr. Karin deJonge-Kannan for these prestigious awards,” said Shelly Ortiz, director of International Student & Scholar Services in the Office of Global Engagement. “Each has demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and leadership skills, and we are especially grateful for the work they do promoting cultural exchanges, and fostering a vibrant Fulbright culture at USU.” 

Ortiz said USU has a robust history of Fulbright recipients, and for both deJonge-Kannan and Spicer-Escalante, this is not their first time participating in the program. This is the fourth award for Spicer-Escalante, a prior Fulbright scholar to Mexico in 2016-17 who also traveled to Brazil on a Fulbright grant. A prior award for deJonge-Kannan sent her to Chile in 2015. The two professors collaborated in 2013 to develop and host a 10-week Fulbright program at USU for applied linguistics scholars based in Iraq.

In Jordan, Spicer-Escalante will have the opportunity to continue learning from students and faculty while also contributing to the institution where she is assigned through her training and experience as an applied linguist. Fellow linguist deJonge-Kannan will share expertise with faculty at Samarkand State, and because this institution has a history of collaboration with USU, deJonge-Kannan’s project is helping the universities make connections in additional fields. 

“The college and the Department of World Languages and Cultures are extremely proud to have two faculty receive recognition and support from the Fulbright program for their scholarship,” said Department Head Crescencio López González. “This is a fitting acknowledgment of the quality of research and teaching they exemplify at USU, and we congratulate Dr. deJonge-Kannan and Dr. Spicer-Escalante on their awards for the upcoming year.”

At USU, the Office of Global Engagement connects Fulbright applicants to resources, mentors, and program alumni. Ortiz noted that her office also supports Fulbright grantees who come to USU from other countries.

“Fulbright grants serve to advance academic excellence and enhance global perspectives. We encourage students and faculty interested in applying for these esteemed awards to reach out to us,” Ortiz said.  

USU faculty and students interested in learning more about the Fulbright application process should visit the following link: https://www.usu.edu/global-engagement/fulbright/index


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