Hartford, Connecticut, December 15, 2016 – Josh Frank, a member of Trinity College’s Class of 2016, has been awarded an English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Starting in January 2017, Frank will spend nearly a year teaching English to students in Malaysia. The Fulbright ETA Program places U.S. students as English teaching assistants in schools or universities overseas, thus improving foreign students’ English language abilities and knowledge of the United States while increasing their own language skills and knowledge of the host country. Frank joins fellow Trinity alumni Alex Suarez ’16 and Katherine Gagen ’16 as Fulbright recipients this year.
Frank came to Trinity through the Posse Foundation and graduated in 2016 with a degree in political science. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Frank is a first-generation college student. His family arrived in the United States in the 1990s from Guyana, a small country in the northern mainland of South America. “My background was a key reason why I applied to Fulbright,” Frank said. “As a student growing up, I always thought deeply about ideas and opportunities to improve my immediate neighborhood. Poverty and poor school quality remain significant challenges in my community.”
During his junior year at Trinity, Frank was elected president of Trinity’s Student Government Association. He also served as a student representative on Trinity’s Presidential Search Committee and on the administrative team that helped oversee the design of Trinity’s Bantam Network. As an undergraduate, Frank completed internships with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Clinton Foundation, and Bloomberg LP. He was also invited to the Clinton Global Initiative University leadership conference in 2013.
Frank credits these college experiences, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs, with helping him to understand what he cared about the most and to develop leadership skills in service at Trinity and in the Harford community. “I think a key part of the liberal arts experience is to go somewhere else, to be in an environment unlike the one you are accustomed to,” Frank said. These lessons and experiences encouraged him to seek out opportunities to help others through the Fulbright program.
Frank’s family was also a major reason he applied for the assistantship. “Public service is a tradition and something stressed in my family,” he said. “I cared deeply about serving others because my grandfather, Allan Neville Archer, was commissioner of land and surveys in Guyana. As a boxer, my dad conditioned me to have a strong sense of self-discipline, but also to have a sense of personhood, which meant thinking about others.” Charles A. Dana Research Associate Professor of Political Science Stefanie Chambers and Anne Lundberg, director of fellowships, were among the Trinity faculty and staff who provided Frank with guidance and support in his application for the Fulbright.
Frank already has some experience teaching English. While at Trinity, he was a mentor with the Vision Academic Mentoring Program at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy and studied the English Language Learner program at Hartford’s Burns Latino Studies Academy through Trinity’s Community Learning Initiative.
By going to Malaysia, Frank hopes to experience the country’s rich culture, which he says is reminiscent of his parents’ homeland. According to Frank, both are places “where many races coexist with one another in a remarkable and unique ecosystem. I anticipate the opportunity to learn about classroom culture in Malaysia as well and have experiences that I can take back and share in the United States.”
After his return from Malaysia next November, Frank intends to apply to Schwarzman Scholars – a one-year master’s degree initiative in China – for which he was a semifinalist in the program’s inaugural year. Frank is also thinking about applying to the University of Virginia School of Law and Harvard Law School. “It will be difficult,” Frank said of his ambitions, “but this is certainly an affirmation that reaching for your dreams can yield amazing opportunities.”
Written by Eleanor Worsley ’17