Greg Kelly ’18 has long wanted to build a bridge between the East and West. It is more than an interest for him. It is a calling. Now just a year after graduating from Le Moyne, Kelly is taking an important step toward achieving his goal of breaking down the geopolitical divisions that separate those hemispheres. The Le Moyne alumnus was awarded a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program English Teaching Assistant Grant to Malaysia, where he will work in an elementary or secondary school. He was drawn to Southeast Asian nation because of its diverse array of cultures, languages and religion, with influences from Chinese, Indian and indigenous people.
“I am eager to immerse myself in this vibrant cultural exchange and to learn Malay in order to communicate more effectively and build relationships with the broader community,” said Kelly. “As an athlete and a musician, I hope to engage in athletic and musical activities with my students in Malaysia as a way to develop rapport and facilitate a collaborative environment outside of the classroom.”
The Le Moyne graduate’s route to Malaysia may seem to be a circuitous one. He studied information systems and business analytics on the Heights and now works as a quantitative analyst at BNY Mellon. However, he has always had a passion for seeking out experiences that challenge him and help him to grow. As a student at Le Moyne, Kelly was profoundly influenced by trips he took to U.S.-Mexican border, where he witnessed firsthand the challenges facing people who wish to immigrate to the United States, and Jamaica, where he worked at a food distribution center, tutored local children, and helped to build a home. Those journeys ignited his passion for social justice and human rights that he will undoubtedly carry with him to Malaysia.
“My time at Le Moyne opened my eyes to how big and diverse the world is,” he said. “I look forward to embracing a way of living that I may never have before considered.”
Kelly is the fourth Le Moyne student or graduate to earn a Fulbright Award in the past four years. Founded in the shadow of World War II, the Fulbright Program seeks to promote mutual understanding and peace by offering research, study and teaching opportunities in more than 160 countries around the globe to recent college graduates, graduate students and professionals.
“While helping Greg with his Fulbright application, I was impressed by how willingly he shares his interests and talents with other people, whether it is helping young adults with Down syndrome to swim or teaching English to Spanish-speaking children,” said Fulbright Advisor, Assistant Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures Deborah Cromley, Ph.D., who is herself an alumna of the Fulbright Program and who worked closely with Kelly on his application. “Greg is inquisitive and open to the world, and I anticipate he will wholeheartedly embrace the opportunities and challenges that will be presented to him during his Fulbright grant to Malaysia.”
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments, host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide