By Aidar Ismailov | M.S. IDD&E ‘20 (Kyrgyz Republic)
I am a Fulbright grantee from Kyrgyz Republic, pursuing my master’s degree in IDD&E at Syracuse University. Prior to my studies, I used to work at Bilimkana Foundation that runs a large network of K-12 schools in Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan. When I started my education at SU, one of my goals was to establish a partnership between my organization and Syracuse University for a mutually beneficial cooperation in the future. For this purpose, I contacted several faculty members, and one of my professors, Dr. Gerald Edmonds, proposed an idea of cooperation with Project Advance (SUPA).
I contacted the founder and CEO of Bilimkana Foundation to propose this idea, and it was strongly supported. In March 2020, I managed to set up a virtual meeting with the top management of Bilimkana Foundation and the Director of SUPA Dr. Christina Parish, professor Gerald Edmonds, professor Rob Pusch, and other members. It was agreed that Bilimkana Foundation would register as a partnering institution of Syracuse University, and after that the teachers of Bilimkana Foundation would be able to apply and become SUPA adjunct teachers. According to the initial plan, teachers’ candidacies would be reviewed by SUPA. Then the teachers would sign up for SUPA professional courses that are scheduled to take place in July 2020. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 pandemic the whole process was postponed until next year.
In March 2020, I was lucky to be selected as a finalist of the Edmund S. Muskie Internship Program. This is a competition-based summer internship program funded by the U. S. Department of State. The internship provides emerging leaders of the Fulbright Program from Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia with the opportunity to gain real-world experience that will expand, deepen, and enrich their graduate studies in the United States.
Finally, I participated in a panel discussion at the conference organized by the Association of Faculties for the Advancement of Community College Teaching (AFACCT) in January 2020. AFACCT is a Maryland-based organization representing faculty at the state’s 16 community colleges. This was the 30th conference held at the Community College of Baltimore County/Catonsville. Some 350 professionals attended the event. The topic of the conference was “Global Learning: Uncovering Success Stories and Planning a Course for the Future.” I shared my experience as a Fulbright scholar at Syracuse University. If you are interested, you can find the details about the conference by following this link.
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