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Montgomery College Professor Receives a Fulbright-Hays Award Becoming MC’s 13th Fulbright Scholar

Rebecca Portis, professor in the College’s English and Reading Department, will embark on a four-week experiential learning trip to South Africa this summer

Montgomery College Professor Rebecca Portis, faculty member in the English and Reading Department, was chosen to participate in this year's Fulbright-Hays, Group Project Abroad (GPA) in South Africa along with 13 other educators from across the country. The summer, four-week trip will offer rich experiential learning opportunities related to sustainable development in South Africa. A specific focus on interactions among history, environmental justice, and social equity is designed to be brought back to the U.S. for integration into curricula.

Complementing classroom lecture seminars will be educational tours to national historical/cultural sites in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Western Cape Provinces where participants will experience South Africa through the uniquely distinct environmental, historical and cultural features of these four provinces.

Participants will use knowledge gained from lecture seminars, educational tours, meetings with government officials and local community members to develop curriculum modules to disseminate nationwide for use at secondary and post-secondary institutions.  

Professor Portis is the College’s 13th Fulbright scholar.

Her work as a Ph.D. student in African Studies, an English and literature professor at Montgomery College, a United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Fellow, a Council for American Overseas Research fellow, and now as a Fulbright Hays Fellow, is to create and activate sustainable platforms that generate research, ideas, and solutions that will ultimately play a significant role in changing the trajectory of lives throughout our global world with equity and justice at the forefront.

The professor’s focus is on the health of Black women throughout the African diaspora and on the African continent as Black women throughout the world are the most threatened group due to systematic racial structures. By examining literature, medical research, and indigenous histories highlighting healing and its present practices, she hopes her work will not only enlighten but inspire motivated and relentless action toward a healthier trajectory for the lives of all Black women.

“I have always believed the goal was to be more of what I loved about myself and do more because more is required of me,” Portis said. “The opportunity to obtain a Fulbright to study in South Africa adds to a list of many key experiences that somehow as a child, I knew was meant for me. I appreciate the journey I have experienced leading me to a pivotal moment in life. I look forward to learning as much as possible and sharing its overflow.”

The Fulbright-Hays Program is one of the few Fulbright Programs that supports group projects abroad. 

“Montgomery College is very proud of Professor Rebecca Portis’ achievement,” said MC President Jermaine F. Williams. “This very prestigious award from the U.S. Department of Education demonstrates the value of Professor Portis’ work on the health of Black women in the African diaspora and the African continent. Her research is a wonderful example of a faculty member expanding her scholarly passions and working to build equity in our local community and in other parts of the world.”

The Fulbright-Hays Program awards grants to individual U.S. K-14 pre-teachers, teachers and administrators, pre-doctoral students and postdoctoral faculty, as well as to U.S. institutions and organizations. The Program supports research and training efforts overseas, which focus on non-Western foreign languages and area studies. The Fulbright-Hays Program is funded by a Congressional appropriation to the U.S. Department of Education.

For more information about the Fulbright-Hays Program, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Group Projects Abroad window