Campus: CSU Long Beach -- May 08, 2002

Study Abroad Coordinator, Teacher Education Professor At Cal State Long Beach Receive Fulbright Awards To Study Abroad This Summer

An administrator in the Center for International Education (CIE) and a faculty member in the College of Education at California State University, Long Beach have been selected for Fulbright awards to study abroad this summer.

Cecilia Fidora, the study abroad coordinator for CIE, was one of five Americans selected for the Fulbright International Education Administrator Program in Korea, and Sylvia Maxson, associate professor of teacher education, was one of 16 participants from across the country chosen to attend the Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program in South Africa.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright Program is the U.S. government's flagship program in international educational exchange. Grants are made to U.S. citizens and nationals of other countries for a variety of educational activities. Since the program's inception in 1946, more than 250,000 participants--chosen for their leadership potential--have had the opportunity to observe each other's political, economic and cultural institutions.

"The Fulbright Program is very competitive and very prestigious," said CSULB President Robert C. Maxson. "The fact that we have two recipients traveling abroad this summer says a great deal about the quality and commitment of both the faculty and staff here at Cal State Long Beach."

Fidora will spend two weeks visiting universities and other educational institutions in Seoul and other cities, including Yonsei University, Seoul National University, Korea University, Kyung Hee University, Ajou University, Pohang University of Science and Technology and the Korean Women's Development Institute.

"I have been fortunate to have lived in different regions of the world including Bahrain Island in the Persian Gulf, Italy and Scotland, but this will be my first glimpse into Asia," said Fidora, who received a similar Fulbright grant to Germany in 1995. "I have enjoyed working with Korean students on our campus in my former role as international student advisor. In my current position, I encounter many Korean-American students who wish to study both the Korean language and culture overseas in Korea, so this will assist me greatly in my daily advising of students by being able to visit the Korean universities myself." Fidora, who joined the CSULB staff in 1984 and has served as the study abroad coordinator since 1991, earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Maryland, European Division, in 1983 and a master's degree in counseling from Cal State Long Beach in 1989.

Maxson will begin her project in New York at a pre-departure orientation program that will include information meetings on South Africa's history and culture, a briefing on the country's current conditions and lifestyles and discussions concerning curriculum development. From there, she will travel to South Africa for four weeks, visiting Johannesburg and Pretoria in the Gauteng Province as well as KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga.

Titled "Indigenous Knowledge Systems: An Invaluable National Resource," the seminar will give participants an understanding of indigenous knowledge in South Africa and its role in community life from an integrated perspective that includes both spiritual and material aspects of the society and the complex relationships between them. Participants will have discussions with academicians, government officials, researchers, community leaders, educators and representatives from non-governmental and private groups.

"The seminar will include visits to local schools and meetings with education policymakers so that we gain insight into the country's education and learning systems," Maxson pointed out. "One of the areas that I am most interested in is children's literature and how it is supported in their educational system, and how I can come back to my position here at the university and perhaps take some of the educational opportunities that are used in South Africa and present those ideas to teachers here."

Maxson received her bachelor of science degree in education from the University of Houston and her master's degree in language arts and reading and Ed.D. in literacy and early childhood education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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