Grady College alumnus offered Fulbright award for 2015-2016

Pete McDonald, a 2012 Grady College graduate, has been awarded an international travel-study grant from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for the 2015-2016 academic year.

The Fulbright program allows students, scholars and professionals an opportunity to pursue advanced research projects, graduate study and teaching assistantships in more than 160 countries worldwide. Ten University of Georgia students and recent graduates received Fulbright awards, which are sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

McDonald plans to use his award to study in Greece at Athens College where he will examine the country’s vocational education system.

“I believe a better focus on vocational training, especially in American urban areas, could lead to lower high school dropout rates and lower unemployment,” said McDonald in UGA Honors Program profile. “I’m interested in learning how the Greek system works, and more importantly, how students feel about it.”

McDonald has a special understanding of urban high schools after serving with the Teach for America program as a high school teacher in Detroit following his graduation from Grady College.

“The truth is, when I started at Grady I didn't have a very clear picture of where I'd end up,” McDonald said. “I saw it (Grady) as a chance to get some good, practical experience in class, but also as a broad education that I could apply to a number of different fields after graduation. I went into teaching, but the writing and analysis that I did through Grady has proved invaluable.”

McDonald will work in Athens College’s Applications and Counseling Office to help students prepare for college, work with students as a mentor in the school’s English language theater and debate clubs and serve as a camp counselor in the school’s English language summer camp.

McDonald, who serves on the Grady College Young Alumni Council, admits that his path from Grady was not a conventional one.

“A big lesson for me was that you can work hard and apply yourself to classes and extracurriculars, even if you don't know what you want to do,” McDonald said. “The future doesn't always have to make sense.”

In addition to his teaching and academic endeavors, McDonald applies himself to some pretty intense extracurricular activities. In the spring, he climbed Mount Kilamanjaro and just recently, he completed his first full marathon. It wasn’t just any marathon, however — he ran the original, 2,500-year-old marathon course, from Marathon, Greece, to Athens, Greece.

“It was unbelievable,” McDonald said.

Date: November 23, 2015
Author:  Sarah Freeman,; Camie Williams,