29 May 2014
A Papuan teacher has become the first University of the Sunshine Coast graduate to win a coveted Fulbright scholarship.
Jil Lahallo, 32, of Jayapura in Papua, graduated from USC at the end of 2012 with a Master of Education in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).
She was the first of a group of teachers from the Indonesian province to qualify for and finish the year-long postgraduate course on campus at Sippy Downs.
Ms Lahallo was selected for the 2014 International Leaders in Education Program scholarship under Fulbright and has just returned to Papua from the five-month experience in Ohio in the United States.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the US Government.
USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said it was a historic moment for the University to learn that one of its alumni had earned the internationally-renowned accolade.
“A Fulbright scholarship is a pinnacle of prestige in the academic world and USC is very proud of her success,” Professor Hill said.
Ms Lahallo said her scholarship involved four elements.
“I learnt methodologies in teaching that promote student-centred learning and global competence by completing co-teaching experience in Rootstown High School in Ohio,” she said.
“I attended classes at the graduate level at Kent State University to improve my academic skills.
“I worked with scholars from India and Egypt to produce a professional development module on using Content and Language Integrated Learning to enhance students’ comprehension and speaking skills. We successfully presented in Washington DC.
“I also assisted refugees from Burma and Nepal at the International Institute of Akron in learning English as a foreign language.”
Ms Lahallo said the academic skills learnt during her USC degree had boosted her success in the United States under the Fulbright program.
“I chose USC to finish my Master because I was familiar with lecturers and staff in the International Projects Group after an earlier USC education project in Papua,” she said.
“The subjects were very practical and applicable in a Papua context. I enjoyed studying at USC because of the academic help and facilities such as the library.”
Since gaining her USC degree she has attained jobs such as a Master trainer with the Indonesia Australia Language Foundation in Denpasar.
USC’s Master of Education in TESOL was established in 2011 by Dr Michael Carey to help teachers of English as a Second Language, including those from overseas, develop their professional skills and broaden their career prospects.
The degree encourages students to relate their own teaching experience and situation to their coursework and to develop their creative ability and linguistic knowledge to produce curricula that engages and extends their language students’ proficiency and intercultural capacity.
– Julie Schomberg