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pete mcdonald, greece, 2015-2016
Fulbright Scholar Pete McDonald

Fulbright Year: 2015-2016
Country: Greece
Proposal Type: English Teaching Assistantship
UGA Undergraduate Major: Mass Media Arts
Graduation Date: Spring 2012 (Bachelor’s)
Hometown: Decatur, Georgia

Informed by his experience as a member of the Teach for America corps, Pete McDonald looks forward to his year-long Fulbright term in Greece at Athens College and plans to take a particularly close look at the country’s vocational education system.

“In many ways, I think Greece’s vocational education program is more developed than ours in the United States. I believe a better focus on vocational training, especially in American urban areas, could lead to lower high-school dropout rates and lower unemployment. I’m interested in learning how the Greek system works, and more importantly, how students feel about it.”

Pete will be quite busy while in Greece. In addition to serving as a Hellenic-American Educational Foundation Teaching Fellow, he’ll work in Athens College’s Applications and Counseling Office to help students prepare for university; work with students as a mentor in the school’s English language theatre and debate club; and serve as a camp counselor in the school’s English language summer camp.

Pete is also looking forward to observing how the country endeavors to unravel itself from its financial challenges.

“Greece is the ideal place for me to continue teaching and learning, as it continues to implement some large-scale economic and social reforms,” he says. “While living and working in Athens, I’ll observe the effects of these ongoing social policy changes on students and families, which will broaden my perspective on the role education should play in cities and communities in the United States.”

After Pete graduated from UGA in 2012, he moved to Detroit and became a high school teacher as part of the Teach for America program, observing firsthand the ways political strategies affected education.

“I worked closely with students and community leaders, which allowed me to see which public policies worked and failed, and how government decisions directly affected citizens,” he says. “I learned that education in a community is tied to social issues like unemployment, welfare, and healthcare. I saw how shortcomings in each of these areas affected our students and families.”

At the conclusion of his Fulbright term, Pete plans to enroll at Harvard Law School with a career focus on public-interest law, administrative law, and social policy.

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