Maayan Abouzaglo graduated from Northwestern University in 2023 with a BS in education and social policy. She minored in legal studies and Middle East and North African studies, and received a Certificate of Achievement in Holocaust Studies. While at Northwestern, Maayan led J Street U Northwestern, worked as a fellow in both the Center for Civic Engagement and the Global Learning Office at Northwestern, and served on the student executive board of Northwestern Hillel. Through the Evanston Work Ethic program, Maayan mentored local high school students to help them explore career options and strengthen their professional skills.
Maayan’s undergraduate honors thesis, “Outsiders in the Promised Land: Young Adult Mizrahi Identity,” focused on the ways in which young college-educated Mizrahim in Israel relate to their cultural identities and perceive their standing in Israeli society.
Having previously interned in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, Maayan is looking forward to serving as a cultural ambassador and enhancing mutual understanding between the United States and Israel. During her Fulbright Fellowship, she will help aspiring educators at Kaye Academic College of Education with their English-language goals.
Deborah Ayres-Brown holds a BA in English and French and an MA in English from the University of Virginia, where she studied Jewish and Christian texts, as well as Bible translation, through the World Religions, World Literatures program. In the past she interned at the Archives and French Literature Museum of the Royal Library of Belgium, volunteered as a docent at the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia, and worked as both a writing center consultant and English language teaching assistant at the University of Virginia. Deborah studied Hebrew for a summer at Middlebury Language Schools, and she studied Chinese for a year at the National Taiwan Normal University, through a Huayu Enrichment Scholarship and worked as an administrative associate and communication coordinator for the Center for Asia-Pacific Resilience and Innovation (CAPRI), a Taiwanese think tank. Deborah currently works as a business etiquette specialist and consultant who has received certifications from the Etiquette Institute of Washington and the American School of Protocol in Atlanta, Georgia.
Julia Grunes graduated from the State University of New York at Geneseo in 2023 with a BA in English (creative writing) and psychology. During her time at SUNY Geneseo, she engaged with the literary community on campus. She was a teaching assistant for creative writing courses, a Writing Learning Center tutor, and the managing editor of Gandy Dancer, the SUNY-wide literary magazine. Julia’s creative work has been published in Gandy Dancer and Iris Magazine. Her writing explores sexuality and the ways that women’s bodies and minds are seen, portrayed, and exploited. Julia plans to continue exploring these topics while in Israel, but with the added lens of spirituality and strengthening her connection to her heritage as a Jewish woman. She looks forward to sharing her knowledge of the English language with the students at the Academic College at Wingate.
Lydia Kang graduated from Wheaton College in 2023, with a BA in international relations, minoring in Spanish and studio art. She also received a pre-law studies certificate. While studying Middle East politics at the University of Oxford in England Lydia’s interest in the history, pluralism and culture of Israel was piqued.
Having previously interned at multiple human rights and development INGOs, such as the International Justice Mission, Lydia is passionate about empowering vulnerable communities to advocate for themselves. She is currently interning and teaching English to national staff at an INGO in Hanoi, Vietnam, which serves Vietnamese ethnic minority groups through humanitarian aid and development projects.
Lydia looks forward to sharing her knowledge of the English language with the Achva Academic College community while teaching English there.
Marianna Sierra graduated from Yale University in 2023, earning a BA in art history. Her interest in art went beyond the historical, as she practiced film photography, performance art, and creative writing. In addition to her classes, Marianna experienced Jewish life and community on campus. Her thesis explored the works of Andy Sweet, using his photographs to discuss images of Jewish play and leisure and their lack of representation within the larger visual history of 20th century Jewish life.
At Tel-Hai, Marianna hopes to draw from her interdisciplinary education to offer experiential language learning through creative writing, performance, and humor.
Tara Lynn Smith
Tara graduated from New York University (NYU) with a BA in music and business in 2021. During Tara’s freshman year at NYU, she went on a Birthright trip to Israel with NYU’s Bronfman Center, after which she became involved in Jewish leadership on campus. For the duration of her undergraduate career, Tara tutored international students in NYU’s Writing Center, where she fell in love with teaching English. This inspired her to pursue an MA in English language and literature in higher education (May 2023).
Prior to receiving her Fulbright grant, Tara taught courses to incoming international students at NYU and worked in the NYU Steinhardt Office of Student Affairs as a graduate advisor. Alongside her master’s studies, Tara conducted research on the effects of teaching pedagogy on student engagement among higher education students. Tara also recently published a piece addressing antisemitism and Jewish identity on campus.
Tara is excited to help her students at the Oranim Academic College of Education.
Dawn Thomas received her BA in liberal studies (creative writing and art expression) in 2019, and her MA in English education and her ESL certificate in 2023 from the University of Iowa. She began self-publishing her writing in 2003 and started a boutique self-publishing firm in 2013 to promote the works of everyday women writers, poets, and illustrators. Over the past twelve years, Dawn has held formal and informal teaching roles with students of all ages and has taught courses and workshops based on some of her own writing.
Dawn’s graduate school research has focused on multilingual literacy, especially African American Vernacular English and its influence on American pop, contemporary, and artistic culture. Dawn created and taught a “Black Language Chronology” reading and writing unit for 11th and 12th graders from diverse backgrounds. Her unit explores African American literature, poetry, and music from the earliest days of the transatlantic slave trade until modern day hip-hop.
Dawn is excited to share her English literature and creative writing background, as well as her love of music, poetry, and art, with the students at the Academic Arab College for Education in Israel–Haifa.
Kayla Cohen graduated from the University of California (UC) Berkeley in 2022 with a BA in History and a BA in Comparative Literature (English, Hebrew, Arabic). At Berkeley, Kayla conducted research for the Magnes Museum's "Open in Plain Sight" exhibit featuring unmapped Jewish material cultural objects across the Islamic world. She also conducted research for Berkeley Law's Human Rights Center, wrote for as a digital reporting intern, and assistant-taught at various Sunday school programs in the Bay Area. Before starting at Berkeley, Kayla participated in KIVUNIM, a Jerusalem-based traveling gap year program, which primed her interest in comparative Middle Eastern studies and great love for language. Her book, which she published in 2021, details her year of living in Jerusalem and traveling with KIVUNIM to Jewish and non-Jewish communities in India, North Africa, the Balkans, and Central Europe.
Drawing from her combined three years of teaching and English tutoring experience, Kayla is looking forward to sharing her passions for English and language-learning with the students of Hadassah College.
Max Freeman received his BA in English from Bowdoin College. During his time as an undergraduate, Max was Master of Sessions of the Peucinian Society, Co-President of Bowdoin Hillel, a Trip Leader at the Bowdoin Outing Club, and a Proctor on Bowdoin Residential Life Staff. Following several years of teaching Hebrew at his synagogue, Max continued teaching through College Guild, acting as a remote educator for incarcerated Americans. Max has a deep love of American literature. He has conducted research on the use of irony in Ralph Ellison’s essays and novel Invisible Man. He hopes to share his love for American literature while teaching English at Tel-Hai College in Israel. Max will also be learning Hebrew in Israel and delving into the Israeli literary landscape.
Willow Green is an interdisciplinary performance artist, writer, curator, and educator. They graduated from Kenyon College in 2021 with a BA in Dance and English, with a concentration in Creative Writing. During their time at Kenyon, they taught as a teaching assistant for the Arabic program and the Kenyon Educational Enrichment Program, and they worked as a curatorial associate at the Gund Gallery. They understand their work in the arts and in the classroom as inherently intertwined.
Willow has worked for Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Whitney Museum for American Art, and Movement Research. Their current research includes Maggie Patton: A Rigorously Personal Legacy, a biography exploring the life and legacy of the founder of Kenyon College's dance program. They have also had the honor of performing in works by Chaesong Kim, Isa Mojares, James Graham, Julianna Massa, Nikki Assanti, and Okwui Okpokwasili.
During their Fulbright fellowship, Willow will join Talpiot Academic College of Education in Holon, Israel as an English teaching assistant.
In May 2021, Rod Selman received his Bachelor’s Degree in Arabic from the University of North Georgia (one of the six senior military colleges in the U.S.) with a minor in Military Leadership, and commissioned as a Military Intelligence Officer into the Georgia Army National Guard. Selman studied abroad in Oman, Jordan, and Morocco from May 2018 to August 2019 for a total of 14 months while pursuing his undergraduate degree.
Rod is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in Christian Scripture at Heritage Christian University (Florence, AL) and works in promotions with a Christian non-profit called House to House Heart to Heart which is an international magazine focused on evangelism that mails to 112 countries. He serves and teaches at a local Church of Christ weekly, where he helped start a College and Young Adults group after graduating from UNG.
Jonathan Alegria received his BA in International Studies with a concentration in the Middle East and North Africa, and a minor in Jewish Studies from Fordham University. At Fordham, he worked as an undergraduate researcher with the Center on National Security, analyzing U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and the synergy between enhancing national security and upholding civil rights within the United States. He also designed and taught an English class during a summer internship with Yefet 83 for the Arab-Israeli community at the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality. He currently works for Englewood Health as a Patient Access Representative assisting patients in navigating the healthcare system through the COVID-19 pandemic. He was awarded the Fulbright ETA grant at Oranim Academic College in Kiryat Tiv'on, where he hopes to build confidence in English learners to use the English language in their personal and professional lives.
Fluent in French and Mandarin Chinese, and currently making headway on his Arabic, Raphael Angieri earned a B.Sc. in International Affairs from Georgetown University in 2018, followed by an M.Sc. in International Development from Sciences Po Paris in 2021. Prior to joining Fulbright, Raphael consulted for UNICEF on educational issues as part of the MICS-EAGLE initiative, mobilizing survey data on demographics and academic achievement so as to better gear policy toward children in need.
With years of experience as a language teacher in China, France, and the United States, during his ETA Fulbright fellowship, Raphael will be helping students at the Al-Qasemi Academic College of Education in Baqa al-Gharbeyya improve their English and develop their understanding of and appreciation for the literature and cultures of the English-speaking world.
Jamie Benedetto earned a BA in Human Development and a minor in Education from the University of California, San Diego, where she also competed as a collegiate soccer player. She then earned a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is an experienced classroom teacher, as well as a girls’ soccer coach. During her Fulbright Fellowship, she will draw on this experience while teaching English at The Academic College at Wingate. Combining her passion for education and sport, Jamie's goal is to motivate the community to take part in cross-cultural interactions while continuing to reform her own teaching identity. She also hopes to engage in the sporting community and work toward creating more opportunities for girls and women in sport. She is very excited to learn more about Israel’s diverse culture and complex combination of ancient and modern history.
Sam Fisher graduated from the University of Georgia in December 2019 with a BA in Religion and a BA in Arabic. He also received a Spanish minor and spent time in 2017 studying Arabic and Moroccan History in Marrakesh, Morocco. Sam has a passion for learning languages and has been an English teacher and tutor since his time at the University of Georgia, including tutoring Syrian refugees in English in preparation for the TOEFL Exam.
During his Fulbright ETA grant, Sam will work with the teachers-in-training at Kaye Academic College of Education.
In 2020, Mitchell Levinson completed his BA in Historical Studies at Bard College. He received the faculty’s Marc Bloch award for his undergraduate thesis, “Sympathy for the Oppressed: Imperial-Era Teachings in Early Soviet Ethnography,” after spending two semesters abroad at St. Petersburg State University, where he studied the Russian language and researched the development of Soviet governance in indigenous communities of Siberia.
At Bard, Mitchell also implemented English as a Second Language programming for 53 local English language learners, tutored undergraduate international students in ESL, and worked with incarcerated students through the Bard Prison Initiative.
Since graduation, Mitchell has continued working with students through Varsity Tutors. Mitchell now feels excited to return to the classroom, help his students reach their English-language goals, and engage with Jerusalem locals.
In 2020, Zainab Mousa-Makky received her BA in International Relations and Ethics and Public Policy from the University of Iowa. During this time, Zainab volunteered as a teaching assistant at the local community college, helping immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East learn English as a foreign language. She also worked as a mentor to high school juniors and seniors, about to enter the workforce.
During her Fulbright fellowship, Zainab will join the Academic Arab College for Education in Israel – Haifa, as an English teaching assistant.
Talya Adler Jaffa
Talya Jaffe graduated with honors from the University of Arizona in 2019 with a B.S. in neuroscience and cognitive science, a minor in biochemistry, and a B.A. in philosophy. During college, she worked in a neuroscience laboratory studying decision-making behavior. She also worked as a medical scribe in the emergency department of a hospital, and aspires to enter the medical field after she completes her Fulbright. In addition to teaching English in the Jezreel Valley of Israel, she will be involved in neuroscience research. She also plans to spend time volunteering with Israeli youth from various cultural backgrounds, with the aim of fostering a community of mutual understanding and respect.
Hanna Lamm received her B.S. in Business Administration along with a directed study in Arabic from the University of South Carolina. Before the Fellowship, she managed exports for Daimler Trucks North America’s aftermarket outbound supply chain. Also, she has interned for the US State Department assisting with curriculum design for the Foreign Service Institute’s Leadership and Management School. Combining her business acumen and teaching experience, Hanna’s goal is to create an engaging environment where students feel confident in their abilities and motivated to learn. She will be practicing her Arabic and learning Hebrew to connect with students as well as the surrounding community. She aspires to improve her skills as an educator and a cultural ambassador.
Rachel Shafer earned her B.A. in International Studies with a concentration on security and diplomacy in the Middle East and Africa from the University of North Texas, where she also minored in Arabic Language Studies and earned a Peace Corps certificate. During her time as an undergraduate, Rachel was awarded the Critical Language Scholarship to study Arabic and conducted research on minority and indigenous identities in Morocco. With Fulbright, Rachel will assist in the teaching of English at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design. Through her teaching, she hopes to empower students to confidently use the English language in their personal and professional lives, as well as explore arts and in literature available in the English language. During her grant, Rachel hopes to continue her study of Arabic and learn Hebrew. Upon return to the U.S., she plans to earn a graduate degree in Near Eastern language, literature, and culture.
Phoebe Zipper received her B.A. in History from Bowdoin College. As an undergraduate student, Phoebe worked extensively as a writing tutor in the Bowdoin Center for Learning and Teaching, helping students from across the academic spectrum adjust to the rigors of college writing and hone their use of the English language. During her Fulbright Fellowship, she will draw on this experience and her own multilingual background while teaching English at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. While in Israel, she will also be learning Hebrew and, through her students, hopes to gain a better understanding of the role of arts in Israeli society today and develop her skills as a cultural ambassador.
Jessica Davidov received her BA in Political Science and Near Eastern studies from Wayne State University. As an undergraduate student, Jessica revitalized an Israel education group in Detroit as well as spent much of her time educating students on Israel’s strong community, vibrant culture, and world influence. Before departing for the fellowship, Jessica is continuing her research on the Kurdish people and their struggle for statehood while simultaneously comparing that with the Jewish people’s achievement of statehood under Dr.Nadejda Marinova of Wayne State University. Jessica was awarded an English Teaching Assistantship in Tel Aviv. Jessica aspires to spend her time in Israel by working with the youth at Yemin Orde. There, she will be utilizing a multilingual background and knowledge of photography to mentor students in the art of photography-- as a way to bridge the language barriers and help them integrate into their new society.
Daniella Wenger received her BS in Business Administration with a minor in Public Policy and Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Technology from University of California, Berkeley. Before the Fellowship she served as an Undergraduate Fellow for the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies and led Free Ventures, UC Berkeley’s premier student run start up accelerator which helped 40 teams raise $30M+ of venture capital in the past 5 years. During her Fulbright Fellowship, Daniella will be teaching English and shaping the English curriculum at Bezalel University. She will also be learning Arabic and conducting research in the field of International Relations, International Business, or National Security and Counter terrorism.
Juan Pinto received his MA in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures from the University of Texas at Austin and his BA in Ancient Near Eastern Studies, with minors in Linguistics and Modern Hebrew, from Brigham Young University. He has held various teaching and tutoring positions of both English and Hebrew. Before departing for Israel, Juan is continuing his research into the use of data science principles for the creation of language learning materials. After completing his time as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, Juan will pursue a PhD in Second Language Acquisition. While in Israel, he will be working with English learners at Oranim Academic College in Kiryat Tiv’on. His goals as an educator are to increase students’ confidence in their own abilities, motivate them to take charge of their own learning, and help them use technological tools effectively to learn English. He hopes to engage students with rich learning experiences while honing his own skills as an educator and cultural ambassador.
Blake Barrett received his BA in Journalism with a minor in International Areas Studies from the University of Oklahoma. Barrett was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Fellowship at Tel-Hai College. He has spent his time since graduation earning his Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Cambridge and working at Oklahoma City’s downtown library. While at the library, Barrett worked with the community to create the Metropolitan Library Literary Magazine, which consisted of short stories, poetry, and non-fiction essays submitted by local authors. Barrett will help teach English at Tel Hai College and engage the local community through American literature and the English language.
Alfredo Torres received his BA in Linguistics and International Studies with an unofficial minor in Hebrew at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. He has worked as an ESL tutor for international students at Emory University, as a Teacher’s Assistant in Spanish at a local high school, and as a Communications intern at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alfredo was awarded with a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Israel. Throughout the course of this fellowship, he will provide support for the English language studies of students at Oranim Academic College in Kiryat Tivon.
Candace Square received her B.S. in Health and Exercise Sciences with a minor in Psychology at the University of Oklahoma. She is currently completing a M.S. degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Oklahoma State University. She will graduate in May of 2017. Candace will be working as an English Teaching Assistant at Kibbutzim College in Tel Aviv. She will facilitate and help improve students’ English proficiency through oral and written language skills. She believes that teaching English in Israel will help build closer relationships, and a depth of understanding between American and Israeli cultures.
Charles Coleman received his BA in International Studies with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies at The University of Alabama t Birmingham. Before departing for his Fulbright grant year, Charles is continuing his research of “Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect” under Professor Renato Corbetta of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Government. Charles was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award to The College of Sakhnin. His purpose in teaching is to help others with their learning experience by creating fun and intuitive video’s about situations people encounter daily. Charles will be working with the chair of the English Department, Mr. Jamal Assadi, and will pursue his project “screen-writing: Bridging the gap between American and Israeli Culture.” Students will write short scripts in English, learn about acting, video editing and post their final group projects Online, which will produce a powerful expression of the Fulbright assignment.
Josh Warzecha received his BA from Dartmouth College, where he double majored in Arabic Language & Literature and Linguistics with a concentration in Hebrew. Josh was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Fellowship to teach English at Tel Hai College, and hopes to use this opportunity to build linguistic and cultural bridges between Israel and the United States. When he is not teaching, Josh hopes to spend time furthering his own knowledge of Hebrew and Arabic and possibly carrying out preliminary sociolinguistic fieldwork.