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Class of 2017: Hwang Named Fulbright Scholar

Published on 04/27/17 in News » Articles

Tiffany HwangThankfully, Tiffany Hwang will have a few weeks of summer to enjoy between walking the Lawn earning her Master’s in Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental Science and hopping on a plane for her next adventure. Recently, Hwang, who is originally from Richmond, Virginia, was notified that she had been named a 2017 Fulbright Scholar. Before we get to the details of her next adventure, lets take a look back.

How did your journey bring you to Curry?

The ball started rolling even before I came to college. My parents signed me up for the enrichment classes at Curry, and I have wonderful childhood memories of fantastic student counselors and classes. Artifacts from summer camps and science activities are still sitting on shelves at home. When I arrived at UVa as an undergrad, I began looking into courses that complemented my interests in youth mentoring and teaching. I soon discovered more interesting Curry classes than could possibly fit in my schedule. Continuing my education in the Master’s program while staying involved in the Charlottesville community simply made the most sense.

What is the most significant thing that has shaped your time while you’ve been here?

Taking classes with my amazing Educational Psychology and Applied Developmental Science cohort has made my time here fly by. They are like family. We are in many of the same classes together, and their rich backgrounds fuel rich discussions. I am incredibly grateful for their thoughtful questions, comments, and personalities. I am also grateful for our professors who let us get sidetracked!

If you can name one person, who at Curry made a special impact during your studies and how?

I owe thank you notes to so many people, but the first goes to fellow Curry student, Hannah Schmidt. She is studying Elementary Education and graduates at the end of this year. I became interested in Curry classes because she would bring up interesting points of conversation from her courses and teaching placement. She quickly became my sounding board to discuss issues and current events related to education. Not to mention, Hannah exudes remarkable kindness and warmth. I am lucky to know her.

I would also like to send notes of tremendous thanks to Dr. Sara Rimm-Kaufman and Dr. Eileen Merritt. Under Sara’s tutelage, I have become a better researcher and thinker. Working with the caring and brilliant people in her lab makes me feel honored to be part of her lineage. Before I met Sara, Eileen took me under her wing when I was an undergraduate and has been my most enthusiastic cheerleader ever since. She was the first to invite me to Curry School talks and special lectures, which solidified my interest in the field of education. I would not be in my program or in Sara’s research lab without her.

What is one thing you learned here that surprised you?

Juggling. It is still a mystery how my mentors and fellow students expertly balance projects, studying, teaching, community service, and (sometimes) parenting. However, watching them generously make time for me and discuss their projects with such passion, I have learned one secret. To help juggle everything, surround yourself with generous and passionate people. Friends and I also learned how to really juggle—with mixed success—in Dr. Diane Whaley’s class on motivation. That was an unexpected, but educational surprise!

What will you be doing next?

Going abroad to teach has always been a dream of mine, and after graduation, I will be living it! Next year, I will be teaching English in Taiwan through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. I am looking forward to working with kids from a different culture and learning more about the country’s school system. I also have extended family scattered around the island, and I can’t wait to reunite with them.

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