Recent graduate receives prestigious Fulbright grant

Chloe McKinley will teach English in South Korea for 11 months

| Author: Maureen Harke | Media Contact: Maureen Harke

Chloe McKinley, a 2023 Central Michigan University graduate from Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Grant to teach English as a second language in South Korea.

Chloe McKinley Fulbright ScholarMcKinley, who majored in music and minored in philosophy, first became interested in South Korea during an Honors Program first-year seminar. In the class led by faculty member Hope May, McKinley learned about Korean philosopher Ham Sok Hon, known for his involvement in the non-violent democratic uprising of March 1st, 1919, and his continued pacifist activism. 

“I knew that I wanted to expand my understanding of the development of Korean culture and their national identity, so I chose to spend my fall semester of 2022 at Yonsei University in Seoul,” she said. “I took a basic Korean language course, as well as courses about Korean philosophy and international human rights.”

As a Fulbright recipient, McKinley will return to live in South Korea for 11 months and teach English at the secondary school level. She also plans to share her creative talents with her host community in South Korea.

“I have studied dance with CMU hip-hop professor Bird Clarkson since the age of ten, and I have taught dance classes at a local dance studio for two years,” McKinley said. “I have also been honored to study saxophone with professor John Nichol. I plan to create a lesson in American music, dance and culture for my students.”

McKinley worked with Maureen Harke, director of the CMU National Scholarship Program, to complete the application process. Approximately 2,000 U.S. students, artists and young professionals receive Fulbright U.S. Student Grants annually to pursue graduate study, conduct research and teach English abroad in more than 140 countries worldwide. Students are selected based on their academic and professional record, host country-specific preferences, cultural competency, and the applicant’s potential to further the Fulbright goal of building mutual understanding between people of the U.S. and other countries. 

One of the things that McKinley most appreciated about her philosophy courses in South Korea was the emphasis on the context and connectedness between events, and she sees these ideas at work in her own experiences.

“My professor, Hope May, was a Fulbright recipient in South Korea, where she taught at the Kyunghee Graduate Institute of Peace. Her decision to teach there was inspired by a previous student, Ben Harris, who encouraged her to apply while he was on his own Fulbright in South Korea,” she said. “The thread connecting our Fulbright grants highlights the importance of having positive role models to inspire and uplift us in our pursuits.” 

Upon returning to the U.S., McKinley will continue her education by pursuing a law degree.

“Overall, my goal is to work in the field of diplomacy, where I can influence or legislate change to create a more peaceful world on an international level. I want to be in a position where I can advocate for this change,” she said.

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