Burke ’13 Awarded Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Turkey

June 12th, 2013 by Nikolas Markantonatos


Image by John Buckingham

Matthew Burke ’13, of Westwood, Mass., has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Turkey where he will teach English to Turkish college students during the 2013-14 academic year. He will also take music lessons in Turkey.

A music major with an anthropology minor, Burke has always had a passion for travel and musical collaboration, which shaped his undergraduate career.

In the summer of 2011, Burke spent 10 weeks teaching English and mathematics in Uganda at the Ocer Campion Jesuit College through a teaching fellowship that he received through Holy Cross’ Chaplains’ Office. Last summer, Burke researched stambeli music in Tunisia through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. During his seven weeks in Tunisia, he took approximately four hours of private gumbri (Tunisian lute) lessons every day.

After returning from Turkey, he plans to enroll in a Ph.D. program in ethnomusicology to continue to explore music’s ability to express cultural identities and create possibilities for cross-cultural exchange. His ultimate goal is to become a professor of enthnomusicology. “Such a career would help me fulfill my life goals of experiencing many different cultures, collaborating with a variety of musicians, and helping others realize, develop, and capitalize on their passions,” he wrote in his personal statement.

At Holy Cross, Burke was involved in Student Programs for Urban Development and the WCHC radio station. He also worked in the music library and the Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center in downtown Worcester through community-based work study.

Each year approximately 1,700 U.S. college students are awarded grants through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. The Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship program in international educational exchange, awards grants to U.S. citizens and nationals of other countries for a variety of educational activities, primarily university lecturing, advanced research, graduate study and teaching in elementary and secondary schools. Since the program’s inception in 1946, more than 300,000 participants — selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential — have had the opportunity to observe each other’s political, economic and cultural institutions. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.

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