Regina Fuller '11 with Jerome Jackson, a retired Marine and Fuller's "American dad in Ghana" at her graduation from the University of Ghana.
– Wofford College 2011 graduate Regina Fuller has been watching telanovelas and YouTube videos to bone up on her Portuguese. A Spanish major who primarily has been living in Ghana since graduation, she’ll need the practice as she begins a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship assignment in Brazil beginning in February.
“I have an English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) and will be teaching English for 10 hours a week and doing research the other 30 hours,” says Fuller, whose research will focus on adult education and women’s literacy, an interest she developed as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar at the University of Ghana (UG). She also was Wofford’s 2009-10 Presidential International Scholar
, and her travels around the world to developing countries on an independent study project took her to Brazil and Ghana, places she vowed to revisit.
“I never went to a big school in the U.S., and Wofford really, really spoiled me,” says Fuller, who attended Spartanburg High School. “As much as I loved my department at UG, which only had 12 people, being in a university of 40,000 people – the standing in line with thousands of people for classes – was an experience I’m not sure I want to repeat. I appreciate Wofford so much more. When you know people’s names, things happen more efficiently.”
Fuller lived in a noisy, undergraduate dorm in Ghana for a year before moving in with a local woman who often kept her grandchildren. It took a year for the university to review and approve her master’s thesis. The date and time of graduation were up in the air until a few days before the event. According to Fuller, it was all part of the experience.
“It was really good for me to be in a classroom with people who didn¹t think like me,” says Fuller, who started out studying Methodism in Ghana and the way the Ghanaians Africanized their religious experience. Spending time with the Methodists in Ghana and teaching adult education with the NGO also helped her notice and start to address the disparities in education.
“Going to elementary school isn’t free in Ghana, so many women, and even some older men, didn’t get the opportunity to go to school,” Fuller says. “I really like education and think that’s what I want to do. Spending a year as a Fulbright is a way for me to get more experience in the field.” After the Fulbright, which runs until December 2014, Fuller will enter a Ph.D. program. Eventually she would like to work with USAID or another international agency, helping guide U.S. policy and funding in the area of adult education.
“One of the things I’ve seen in global aid is that lots of money is given to primary education, but if parents aren’t literate, they can’t help children with their school work,” she says. “Most Ghanaians are in the informal sector. Because of their lack of education, their opportunities are limited. Educating someone’s mom may not be as cool, but it’s a necessity.”
Fuller was known at Wofford as a dedicated researcher and student with a global perspective. In addition to her Presidential International Scholars project, “Exploring the African Diaspora,” she studied Afro-Caribbean culture and the rejection of African identity in the Dominican Republic and Brazil. She also completed an internship on Capitol Hill with U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., and she participated in Bard College’s Globalization and International Affairs Program in New York City in the summer of 2008. For the summer 2010 Community of Scholars, an interdisciplinary research program, she worked on a film documentary on the music and dancing she observed during her Presidential International Scholar
year of travel.
Fuller, who majored in Spanish
and intercultural studies
, is the daughter of Paulette Fuller of Spartanburg and Ronnie Crawford of Chesnee, S.C. She was a Daniel Scholar at Wofford.
The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Program places recent college graduates and young professionals as English teaching assistants in primary and secondary schools or universities overseas, improving foreign students’ English language abilities and knowledge of the United States while increasing the U.S. student’s own language skills and knowledge of the host country. ETAs also may pursue individual study/research plans in addition to their teaching responsibilities.
For more information visit exchanges.state.gov/us/program/fulbright-english-teaching-assistant-program