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Four Salem State University professors named Fulbright Scholars for the 2023-2024 academic year 

Four Salem State University professors have received Fulbright awards for the 2023-2024 academic year. The awards, from the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, will allow faculty to teach abroad while engaging in research, building partnerships and gaining experiences that can be brought back to Salem State’s classrooms. 

“These Fulbright awards demonstrate the caliber of our faculty and their commitment to bringing new knowledge and perspectives to campus,” said Provost and Academic Vice President David Silva. “Salem State’s mission includes preparing students to contribute to a global society, and faculty experiences like these contribute greatly to that work.” 

The Salem State faculty members completing Fulbright awards during the 2023-2024 academic year include:

  • Ken Ardon, of Swampscott, professor of economics, who will teach economics to students in Turkey;
  • Melanie González, of Salem, associate professor, English as a second language and literacy in both the secondary and higher education department and English department, will conduct research in Mexico on the self-evaluation process used by English language teachers there.
  • Rebecca Hains, professor of media and communication, will work with undergraduate and graduate students and other scholars in Poland, exploring the globalization of U.S. media geared toward children and from an American studies perspective;
  • And Julie Kiernan, of Marblehead, associate professor of theatre and speech communication, will teach students in Bulgaria how theatre can be used as a tool for self-expression.


Ardon will teach a course in the economics of education at Middle East Technical University (METU), a large public university in the capital of Ankara, Turkey. The class will focus on analyzing an education system using economic concepts such as how communities, states or countries decide on what to spend on schools, how and why education affects employment and income, and whether college is a good investment for students. 

“I’m excited to work with METU students, and I hope to establish a partnership that will allow students at METU and Salem State to collaborate virtually in the future,” said Ardon, referring to the university’s collaborative, online, international learning (COIL) projects. 


González will teach and conduct research at the Universidad de Guanajuato in Guanajuato, México, on how pre-service and in-service English language teachers self-evaluate their effectiveness in the classroom to better meet students’ learning needs.

“I am excited to learn with and from colleagues and teachers in Guanajuato and throughout México about their expertise and insights into teaching the English language. So much about how our field interprets students’ English language needs and their learning is through a U.S. lens,” said González. “I also am looking forward to experiencing the opportunities and challenges that come with living and working in a culture new to me and augmenting my Spanish language skills.”

In Kraków, Poland, Hains will work with students and scholars studying U.S. culture within Jagiellonian University’s American studies department, where she collaborated virtually with colleagues and students for several years through grant-funded research and COIL projects. She will teach classes, support thesis projects, and expand her own media studies research at Jagiellonian, while offering lectures throughout Europe about the U.S. children’s media industry and its global reach.

“I look forward to exploring U.S. media culture with my students and colleagues at Jagiellonian, and immersing myself in Kraków’s rich cultural heritage,” Hains said.  The university is renowned for its excellent scholarship, academic rigor, high-quality public education, and dedication to international partnerships. I look forward to the opportunity to learn together and to planning more joint projects between Jagiellonian and Salem State.”


At New Bulgarian University in Sofia, Bulgaria, Kiernan will teach students how to work together and create a theater performance on a societal issue of their choice. In another course, which will be done in collaboration with a non-governmental organization (NGO), Kiernan will oversee university students working with middle schoolers from a Roma community to create a theater performance to later be performed at the university. 

“Studies show that when students of marginalized communities visit a university in their middle school years it helps them see themselves as being able to attend university and increases the odds of them attending in the future,” Kiernan said. “My teaching uses theatre, contemplative, civic-learning, and humanistic pedagogies to empower youth to address issues of identity and connection through storytelling.”

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