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John Horgan

College: Brooklyn College
Awards: Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program, 2014

Forging Cultural Connections

John Brendan Horgan (Brooklyn College, M.A. in Education, 2014) describes his childhood in Ohio as being raised with an open mind in a sheltered bubble.

That bubble burst in 2009 when he interned with the Cook County Public Defender’s Office in Chicago.

“I saw grown men and women broken by lifetimes of regret and hopelessness,” Horgan wrote in his Fulbright personal statement. “I saw teenage kids bruised and Taser-burned from scuffles with police. I saw row upon row of lifeless bodies housed in a warehouse morgue, all victims of a secluded but ferocious culture of street violence.”

The experience led to his desire to become a teacher, and in the spring of 2012 he headed to Beijing to teach English at the Vitaly Springs Experimental Kindergarten. Soon after, he came to Brooklyn College where he earned his master’s degree in education while teaching inner-city students with special needs at the New York Harbor School on Governors Island.

As a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Malaysia, Horgan says he wants to strengthen cultural connections and encourage educational enrichment.

“Through the use of different mediums, whether film screenings or social media projects, I plan to help students realize the application and power of their English language skills,” Horgan wrote in his Fulbright grant proposal. “I would also like to manipulate technology with programs such as Google Docs and Skype to arrange for direct interaction between Malaysian students and native English speakers in the United States.”

Horgan also hopes to create a learn-to-swim program in Malaysia, and act as the curator of a community space that could serve for further dialogue through art, ideas, and other forms of public interaction.