Kelsey Stone Receives Fulbright Award to Taiwan

Kelsey Stone Receives Fulbright Award to Taiwan

by Web on April 20, 2018

Kelsey Stone, a Millsaps College senior, has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award to Taiwan from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Stone will teach English through a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship.

The Fulbright Program offers research, study, and teaching opportunities in more than 140 countries to recent graduates and graduate students. Recipients are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.

Stone follows in the footsteps of nine recent Millsaps graduates and one professor who have been recipients of prestigious Fulbright awards.

Kenneth Townsend, chair of the Millsaps Fellowships Committee, praised the selection of Stone.

"Kelsey has had an impressive career at Millsaps, inside and outside the classroom, and I am delighted to see that good work acknowledged by the Fulbright Program," he said. "We are all excited to see what the future holds for Kelsey in Taiwan and beyond."

Stone, who is from Grand Bay, Ala., but attended middle and high school in Mississippi in Pascagoula, will teach and share American culture starting in August 2018 in Taitung City, which is located on the southeast coast of Taiwan and home to the largest aboriginal population in Taiwan. 

Majoring in religious studies with minors in peace and justice studies as well as Vocation, Ethics and Society, Stone became interested in East Asian religious traditions and culture after taking a class with Dr. Lola Williamson, now emerita associate professor of religious studies.

"I learned of the conflation between culture, religion, and identity, and that made me want to pursue studying and teaching in Taiwan specifically," Stone said. "My experience with Dr. Kristen Golden in the Peace and Justice Studies Department, both as a student and a teaching fellow, helped me connect the role of intercultural understanding and education with my own desire to be a part of global peace building and initiatives. Fulbright Taiwan’s mission statement is, 'a world with a little more knowledge, and a little less conflict,' and I wanted to be a part of enacting this vision."

Dr. Lynn Raley, an associate professor of music at Millsaps who grew up in Taiwan, said Taiwan seemed right given Stone’s interests. Raley received a Fulbright Scholar grant to teach music at National Chiao Tung University in Hsinchu, Taiwan, during the 2012-2013 academic year.

"When Kelsey approached me about different countries to apply to, I talked about the diversity of religious practices in Taiwan, from Daoism to Buddhism, Confucianism, Taiwanese folk religions, and even combinations of the above," he said. "I also talked about the island country’s open-minded, progressive society, and it all seemed a perfect fit.

"Kelsey is very interested in helping under-served communities, and Fulbright ETAs are placed in many of those locations. There are 14 recognized aboriginal tribes in Taiwan, all with their own language. Taitung, where Kelsey will teach, is a small city on the beautiful east coast, directly across from Green Island. It is a short boat ride from Orchid Island, the home of yet another tribe, the Tao, who have been there for over 800 years."

Stone has been involved in numerous activities on campus, including M-3 Millsaps Mindfulness Movement (founder), Millsaps Better Together (co-president), and PRIDE (vice president).

Stone was a Student Body Association senator and is treasurer of the Jewish Cultural Organization, and a research and technology assistant at the Millsaps-Wilson Library.

A Davis Fellow in the inaugural cohort of the Millsaps College International Perspectives Program, Stone completed a teaching fellowship on campus with Dr. Kristen B. Golden, associate professor of philosophy, and her Our Human Heritage Turning Points class, and off-campus internships at Echo Park United Methodist church in Los Angeles and the Human Rights Campaign in Jackson.

After completing their Fulbright scholarship, Stone hopes to continue teaching, explore interfaith chaplaincy, or pursue becoming a mindfulness-based stress reduction licensed clinical social worker.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has given more than 380,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, professionals, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbrighters address critical global challenges in all areas while building relationships, knowledge, and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 59 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 82 who have received Pulitzer Prizes, and 37 who have served as a head of state or government.