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OC Senior Madison Stephens Named Inaugural Fulbright Scholar

Madison Stephens (24')

Oklahoma Christian University proudly announces a significant milestone as Madison Stephens, a senior double-major in Biology and Vocational Spanish, becomes its inaugural Fulbright Scholar. Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program promotes international exchange and academic excellence. Stephens, known for her strong academic record and dedication to service, will utilize her Spanish background and faith to assist communities abroad.

“Madison is the perfect candidate for a national scholarship or fellowship such as the Fulbright because she has done many best-fit activities and skills as part of her life since girlhood — State and then national leadership in 4-H, interning for a U.S. congressman, and then doing hard things in college such as top academic work, running for and winning campuswide office, and certifying to Teach English as a Foreign Language. What international delegation wouldn't want Madison as a junior diplomat, as it were? Fulbright eats that stuff up,” Professor of English and Honors Dr. Scott Lamascus said.

Stephens has been selected for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Scholarship, a prestigious and highly competitive program allowing recipients to fully immerse themselves in a foreign culture while teaching English. For nine months, Stephens will be stationed in Spain as part of the American Spaces Program, an initiative led by the U.S. Embassy.

The American Spaces Program in Spain is part of a global network comprising over 600 American Spaces, each dedicated to providing information about the United States and fostering relationships among Americans and citizens of the host country. Stephens will be based at American Space Quixote, situated within FabLab Cuenca, a facility focused on innovation and invention, emphasizing community outreach.

As an English Teaching Assistant, Stephens's primary role includes facilitating language learning and cultural exchange. She will assist the staff in conducting workshops and cultural events, advising Spanish students interested in studying in the United States, leading conversation groups, and providing one-on-one tutoring.

Apart from her core duties, Stephens will encourage student communication and development. She will further motivate the participants to develop their English speaking and writing skills, create resources for workshop activities, and engage with the community through social media outreach.

“I'm thrilled to go to Spain, improve my Spanish, and immerse myself in another culture while sharing my own,” Stephens said. “Planning events for American Spaces is exciting; and academically, this experience will be invaluable for future law school applications. I hope it provides a foundation for working with the government, potentially as a lawyer, which has always interested me.”

Stephens' Fulbright Program participation presents a unique opportunity to make a meaningful impact on Spanish students. Motivated by her early experiences in Spanish classes, Stephens chose Spain as her Fulbright destination to immerse herself in its culture. Her prior participation in public speaking and cultural interaction has equipped her well for the Fulbright Program's community engagement aspect, where she aims to devise innovative ways to become involved with her host community.

Madison Stephens
OC student, Madison Stephens at OC campus

“Madison has demonstrated the ability to function effectively in new environments. From Guatemala to Washington D.C. to Vienna Austria, Madison has interacted effectively with people from various cultural backgrounds. She not only adapts to a variety of settings but also embraces their dynamic nature. She successfully completed TEFL Certification, which involved documenting 50 hours of teaching experience with English language learners of various ages and language levels. Her documentation of these lessons reveals her ability to teach in various settings: from informal classes with working adults to more structured classes with high school students. She will be an excellent cultural ambassador for the U.S.," Professor of English Dr. Gail Nash said.

Stephens' accomplishment opens a new chapter for OC students seeking international opportunities. As she embarks on her Fulbright journey, she becomes a trailblazer for future generations of scholars at Oklahoma Christian University.

“Madison is a genuinely kind person who perpetually seeks to make those she encounters feel valued,” Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Sara Alcon said. “She has intentionally sought out a highly diverse set of experiences throughout her time in college which have developed her into an exceptional person with a distinctive talent set. She will undoubtedly be someone OC and the Fulbright Program are proud to be associated with for many years to come.”

As Stephens prepares to leave for Spain in September, the entire OC community celebrates Stephens' achievement, anticipating the positive impact she will undoubtedly make on the world stage. Her dedication to promoting cultural exchange and understanding embodies the values of Oklahoma Christian University and exemplifies the spirit of the Fulbright Program.

“I'm so excited to represent OC as a Fulbright scholar,” Stephens said. “I think this will be an amazing opportunity and of course a great way to tell people about Oklahoma Christian University. OC does such great things here and more people need to know."