University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Professor Maureen Hall has created a new scholarship for students and teachers to study in India.
Dr. Hall, a Dartmouth resident and recipient of the Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Scholarship in 2010-2011, has established the Ruel J. and Patricia A. Hall Educational Scholarship for India Fund in the memory of her parents, both of whom were educators, as a way to honor their lifetime dedication to education.
The Fund, which will offer $500 scholarship once a year, builds on Dr. Hall's long professional interest in, and ties to, India. An expert in pedagogy, or teaching other teachers, she has partnered with the faculty at Dev Sanskriti University in Haridwar, India, for several years.
As part of her partnership, Dr. Hall was joined at Dev Sanskriti earlier this year by graduate student and Westport native Danielle Johansen, who traveled as part of her work toward earning a Master of Arts in Teaching.
In addition to her work, Johansen was also deeply affected by the many cultural and spritual influences unique to Indian culture.
"The capacity for learning in India is absolutely endless," said Johansen, " and the self-reflection and knowledge that I have gained while here have helped me to focus on who I want to be, not only as a future educator, but also as an individual in this world."
Seeing the effect that the experience had on Johansen, Dr. Hall decided to give Johansen $500 as a gift to defray the cost of her experience - and to ensure that other students and teachers would have the same opportunity in the years to come.
"This is exactly the type of life experience I wish others to be able to have, and why this scholarship is so important," said Dr. Hall, speaking of Johansen's experience. "I believe it can truly make a difference and help to create the cross-cultural connections we need to have with India."
Dr. Hall and Johansen later travelled to Delhi, Agra (where the Taj Mahal is located), Jaipur, and then to the Himalayan Mountains where they visited Badrinath, which is one of the four dhams, or places of pilgrimage, in India. Dr. Hall is returning to India this summer to continue to strengthen the collaborative partnership between UMass Dartmouth and Dev Sanskriti.
"This is absolutely a marvelous outcome of the Fulbright experience Dr. Hall was able to have in India", said Dr. Bal Ram Singh, Director of Center for Indic Studies at UMass Dartmouth, to which Dr. Maureen Hall is affiliated. "It is highly generous of Dr. Hall to facilitate student learning experience through the scholarship she is setting up for students of UMass Dartmouth."