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Indiana University senior awarded Fulbright assistantship

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By Bill Zlatos
Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Erin O'Brien, a senior at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is returning to Taiwan to teach English after winning a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship.

"I taught in Taiwan last summer, and as much as I'm a little scared of going because it's such a long time, I think it's going to be a really incredible experience," O'Brien said.

O'Brien, a former resident of Pasadena, Calif., who lives in Matawan, N.J., when she's not in school, is the 11th student from IUP to win a Fulbright. The double major in history and Asian studies will go to Taiwan in August for 11 months.

"She is a make-the-world-a-better-place kind of woman," said Janet Goebel, director of IUP's Robert E. Cook Honors College.

O'Brien began studying Mandarin during her freshman year at IUP and received money from IUP benefactor Robert E. Cook to study in China.

Last summer, she taught English to Taiwanese children between 6 and 14 years old.

O'Brien said the Fulbright will give her the opportunity to improve her Mandarin and get better acquainted with the Taiwanese.

"One of the best things was seeing the smiles on the kids' faces and how close I got to them, and I was only there for a month," she said.

O'Brien and her boyfriend, Michael Daniel, began the Honors College's presence in Second Life, the second-most popular site of its kind in the online digital world.

She volunteers with the Kids Read program locally and TOST and Turned, an improvisational theater company at the Honors College.

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