Student accepted into prestigious Fulbright program


Kaitlin Hankins

Kaitlin Hankins of Sparta, Ohio, who graduated from Youngstown State University this spring, has been accepted into the prestigious Fulbright US Student Program and will spend a year in Brazil teaching English.

Hankins, a Spanish Education major while at YSU, was awarded the Fulbright award after a rigorous application process. The program gives out 1,600 awards annually. Hankins is the second person from YSU’s Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures to receive the award in the past 10 years.

“She is a true example of a lifelong learner, dedicating herself to expanding her already remarkable language skills by searching out ever more opportunities to live and work in a Spanish-speaking environment, as evidenced by her application for this Fulbright scholarship,” said Jennifer Behney, assistant professor of Second Language Acquisition and Italian.

Hankins spent last year studying abroad in Argentina, working with middle school students. Seeing the enthusiastic response of the young people, Hankins knew she wanted to spend more time traveling and teaching. She was encouraged by Annette El-Hayek, retired YSU assistant director of study abroad and international exchanges, as well as campus Fulbright advisor, to apply for the Fulbright program.

Hankins will start the Fulbright program in March 2015. Prior to that, she will spend a semester in Chile with the organization English Open Doors, teaching conversational English to 5th-12th grade children.

“I’m most excited about meeting new people,” Hankins said.

Before graduating in May 2014, Hankins was a YSU Scholar and the president and vice-president of the Spanish Club. While in Argentina, she volunteered with Un Techo para mi País (A Roof for My Country), and the Rural Education and Development Foundation. After her teaching engagements, Hankins hopes to attend graduate school for a degree in Speech Language Pathology.