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Shane Fuentes '18 Keeps Nazareth's Fulbright Streak Alive

Published April 18, 2018

He's excited to head to medical school at the University of Rochester, but first the dream of traveling and teaching is calling to Shane Fuentes '18, a senior biochemistry major, who is Nazareth College's latest Fulbright Scholar.

"The U of R allowed me to defer my acceptance for a year so that I can pursue the Fulbright year first," said Fuentes. After Nazareth graduation in May, Fuentes will travel to Taiwan to teach English, then to the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Fuentes is the 14th Nazareth Fulbright recipient in the past 5 years. Nazareth is among the top producers of Fulbright scholars in its category (master's colleges and universities), according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Fuentes' selection makes it the 16th consecutive year that the College has had a U.S. Student Fulbright Scholar award recipient.

"After I left the small, mostly white, northern New York town where I spent my high school years to attend college in the suburbs of Rochester at Nazareth, I was searching for a passion in something other than high school sports. I quickly discovered how teaching, learning about different cultures, and traveling could fulfill that desire," said Fuentes.

During his time here at Nazareth, he's had two opportunities to teach English overseas. Fuentes participated in Nazareth's summer internship/ study abroad program in Chile (Summer 2016). Fuentes performed chemistry research, observed physicians, and was an English teaching assistant at the Universidad de Concepción. A few months later, he co-led a service trip with other Nazareth students to Nicaragua, where they did light carpentry work and offered English lessons to elementary students.

"Growing up in a bilingual household, I was able to utilize my language skills to connect with my Spanish-speaking students in Chile and Nicaragua," said Fuentes, who would like to create a non-competitive basketball club when he travels to Taiwan on his Fulbright. "Basketball has long been an enjoyable activity in my life, and creating a basketball club would allow the students and members of the community to learn a new sport or improve their skills while engaging in exercise, teamwork, and conversational English."

This past summer was his second time taking part in a Nazareth summer research program with area high school students, where they use Peckham Hall's sophisticated labs to test for causes and possible solutions to the pervasive algae problem in Lake Ontario. "One of the most enriching experiences of my academic career has been serving as a chemistry tutor," says Fuentes. "Two of my professors recommended me for that position, from which I have learned the value of patience and humility."

In Fall 2017, Fuentes studied in Berlin, Germany. While there, he immersed himself in the culture and took courses in German Literature, European Approaches to Sustainability, German History, and German Language. He also had an internship at Hubertus Protestant Hospital, where he observed orthopedic surgeons.

He is a two-time recipient (2017 and 2018) of a Nazareth Civic Engagement Award for community service, for his many different volunteer efforts, including his work with various Washington, D.C. based organizations focused on homelessness and poverty.

Fuentes knows serving as Fulbright scholar in Taiwan will enable him to become familiar with a new culture, which will be especially helpful in his future career as a physician. "A firsthand understanding of my patients' backgrounds will help me to be more intentional and empathetic."

Established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program's objective is to build mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the rest of the world. Sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Program is America's flagship international education exchange. Approximately 279,500 "Fulbrights," 105,400 from the United States and 174,100 from other countries, have participated in the Program since its inception over fifty years ago.

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Nazareth Fulbright Program

Nazareth College’s academic strengths cross an unusually broad spectrum of 60 majors, including education, health and human services, management, the fine arts, music, theater, math and science, foreign languages, and the liberal arts. The coeducational, religiously independent, classic campus in a charming suburb of Rochester, N.Y., challenges and supports 2,300 undergrads and 700 graduate students. Nazareth is recognized nationally for its Fulbright global student scholars and commitment to civic engagement. Rigorous programs, an uncommon arts and sciences core, experiential learning, career skills, and a global focus prepare graduates for not just one job, but for their life’s work.

Shane Fuentes '18 is headed to Taiwan to teach English as Nazareth's latest Fulbright Scholar