Cultural Exchange for SDAP and Fulbright TEA Fellows

The RCOE’s Scholars with Diverse Abilities Program participated in a cultural exchange with visiting Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement Participants from around the world.

In early October, 25 of the Scholars with Diverse Abilities Program (SDAP) students and staff had breakfast with 22 international Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) Participants in the Linville Ballroom in the Plemmons Student Union. 

The breakfast meeting started with a mindfulness meditation led by Anne Carol Sheely, a third-year SDAP student. SDAP uses mindfulness activities before its classes to focus attention and bring awareness to the moment for class participants. 

Next, SDAP students shared highlights of their experiences at App State related to the program’s core areas of career development, academics, community engagement, life skills, and health and wellness. 

  • Nick Curry explained that his job with University Recreation along with classes he is taking in Recreation Management is helping him to prepare for a career in recreation back in his home community.
  • Jack Juarez described a music course he took in which he learned to use technology to compose and produce music. His original composition was featured during SDAP’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration in 2022. 
  • Ross Gordon joyfully shared that he is working on his cooking skills and that he and his roommates cooked quesadillas with red peppers in their apartment last weekend. 
  • Remi Douglas stunned the captive audience with his list of ten clubs that he participates in including paintball, gaming, and Japanese Culture.

After the presentation, the scholars and Fellows intermingled around tables, sharing their cultures and experiences with each other. 

Fulbright TEA participants had this to say:

  • "I put a lot of thought into what I wanted to get out of my Fulbright TEA experience. This day [SDAP Breakfast] is the moment I was looking for." 
  • "In my country, we don't have a program like SDAP. I want to bring back the concept and introduce it to my school in Sri Lanka."
  • "SDAP is a great example of a program that successfully immerses students with diverse abilities in university life. In my home country, we haven't seen anything like this."
  • "I am so overwhelmed by this event and by this incredible program."

App State’s 22 Fulbright TEA Participants are secondary school teachers of English, social studies, math, science, and special education who travel to the U.S. from around the world to engage in a cultural exchange, learn from educators at American universities, and enhance their teaching skills. The participants come from diverse backgrounds and share a common goal of developing their teaching methodologies but also engaging in cultural exchange. Fulbright TEA is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government, administered by IREX.

SDAP prepares college-aged students with intellectual disabilities for personal growth and occupational success. The goal upon completion of the program is for students to obtain competitive, integrated employment and live independent, fulfilling lives.

SDAP and TEA Fellows Discussion
Published: Nov 14, 2023 1:32pm