University of Scranton Student Wins Fulbright

    Lauren Coggins, (right) a member of The University of Scranton’s class of 2018, received a highly-selective Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Mexico for the 2018-2019 academic year. She is pictured with Susan Trussler, Ph.D., Fulbright advisor and associate professor of economics and finance at the University.
    June 5, 2018


    For University of Scranton Fulbright Student Lauren Coggins the case is clear: Mother knows best.

    When Coggins was an eighth-grade student at Abington Heights Middle School, her mother Patricia told her to take Spanish for her foreign language choice of the classes offered at her school “because it’s the second most commonly-spoken language in the United States and it will help you in your future.”

    Coggins earned her bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from the University in May as a double major in secondary education and Hispanic studies with a concentration in Latin American studies. She was awarded the University’s Prof. Joseph G. Brunner Award for Excellence in Foreign Languages (Hispanic Studies). She also won an award from what is widely considered to be the premier international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. She was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Mexico. She will be teaching English as a Second Language at a university in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, Mexico.

     “I’m delighted to see an exceptional local student chosen for this highly-selective national program,” said Susan Trussler, Ph.D., the University’s Fulbright Program Advisor and associate professor of economics and finance. “Lauren maintains a GPA above 3.9, is passionate about teaching and possesses a keen ability for language. She also holds a deep admiration for Hispanic culture. She embodies the qualities the Fulbright program was designed to cultivate.”

    Coggins is one of over 1,900 U.S. citizens who will conduct research, teach English, and provide expertise abroad for the 2018-2019 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.

    The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

    The 2018 award also continues Scranton’s decades of success with the Fulbright program.  Since 1972, a total of 124 University students have been awarded Fulbrights.

    Coggins began her studies at Scranton as a biology major, but her experience as a tutor in the University’s Language Learning Center and the encouragement from the center’s former director, Marie Karam, and faculty members “redirected” her to teaching.

    Coggins now refers to her career choice as a calling. “For me, teaching is something that comes from the heart,” she said.

    She considers the Fulbright a “gift” that she intends to put to use in helping her future students.

    “Being in Mexico, I will learn more about the culture by experiencing it firsthand. Because learning the language also involves learning the culture, I can bring that deeper understanding back to the United States to share with English speakers here who want to learn Spanish,” said Coggins.

    As a community engagement project for the Fulbright, she intends to organize an afterschool program for young children to learn English along with their mothers prior to their starting to study the language in school.

    “I think learning a language can be a bonding experience for the mothers and their children,” said Coggins.

    During the Spring 2017 semester, Coggins studied abroad at Universidad Iberoamericana in Puebla, Mexico. In the spring 2018 semester, she completed her student teaching assignment at Mid Valley Secondary Center, where she taught Spanish I.

    At the University, Coggins served as a Spanish and English as a Second Language (ESL) tutor at the Language Learning Center and as a mentor for the University of Success program. She was a member of the Spanish Club. She also volunteered with the University’s ESL Native Speaker Conversation Partners Program and as a Spanish tutor at various local high schools. A Dean’s List student, she was inducted into Alpha Mu Gamma, the national foreign language honor society, and participated in the University’s Faculty Student Teaching Mentorship Program.

    Coggins is a cantor for Our Lady of Snows Parish in Clarks Summit. She also plays the violin and even taught a University professor to play the instrument – with some strings attached.

    “I had to provide instruction in Spanish,” said Coggins.

    Coggins resides in Clarks Summit with her parents, Patricia and John Coggins and her brother Matthew.

    Upon completion of her Fulbright, Coggins plans to be a high school Spanish teacher and pursue a master’s degree in Hispanic literature or ESL education.


    Back to Top