Meet the Fulbright Grant recipients: Desirae Green and Cameron Mealing - The Herald: News

Meet the Fulbright Grant recipients: Desirae Green and Cameron Mealing

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Posted: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 10:30 am

Editor’s Note: This is the last in a series of three stories highlighting the achievements of Arkansas State University’s Fulbright Grant recipients. To read the rest, visit astateherald.com

Desirae Green

A-State student and Fulbright grant recipient Desirae Green had dreams that were much different than her current plans.

“I initially wanted to be an anesthesiologist because I wanted to be wealthy,” Green said. “As I grew older I realized that you can obtain wealth in any career industry.”

Once she was accepted to college, Green decided to pursue a career in education.

“My educational emphasis is Spanish because it is heavily infiltrating the American economy,” she said.

Her Spanish emphasis helped her become one of the first Fulbright grant recipients. Green said she is grateful for this opportunity because other opportunities had passed her by.

“Prior to applying to the Fulbright program, I had applied to numerous study abroad opportunities in Spain and wasn’t accepted for various reasons,” Green said. “Being the ambitious person that I am, I didn’t let a few ‘no’s’ discourage me from pursuing my goals in life.”

Green is a Maumelle, Arkansas native and said her experience growing up there was a privilege.

“It was just one large melting pot of differences and it was truly an amazing opportunity,” Green said.

She also said growing up there taught her the importance of having a healthy self image.

“How you see yourself will determine what you decide to do in your life,” she said.

Green cited her family’s indirect encouragement as one of the reasons she chose to apply for the Fulbright program. She is the oldest child of four.

“Without the challenges presented by my family, I don’t believe I would have had the audacity to seek asylum in the hands of an international experience,” she said. “They have encouraged me to aim high and not to allow a ‘no’ to prohibit me from accomplishing my mission.”

Green has worked hard in and out of the classroom during her time in college. She said the most rewarding part of her college experience was earning scholarships to cover educational expenses.

Green’s parents put the financial responsibility on her once she graduated high school.

“They made me pay for every little thing,” Green said. “So since freshman year I have been working diligently to ensure that my expenses were paid in full.”

Because she decided to apply for the program near the deadline, Green spent much of her time ensuring that her application was complete.

“For weeks, I would be up til 2 a.m. making sure that my application was competitive,” Green said. “Also, Jennifer Salo helped me out tremendously.”

Salo is the Fulbright U.S. Student Program coordinator at Arkansas State, and she is also the Honors College special project coordinator.

Green said Salo helped her by proofreading her essay and sending any suggestions she had. Because of her hard work, Green will work as a teaching assistant in La Rioja, Spain.

While she is excited to be one of the first Fulbright recipients, Green said she does not want her self-worth to be rooted in titles and accolades.

“The first Fulbright grant recipient title has a nice ring to it, but at the end of the day, I’m still a college senior just trying to make a good life for myself and change the world,” Green said.

After her experience in Spain, Green would like to continue her education at Columbia University.

“Rihanna couldn’t have said it better. I’m going to work, work, work, work, work, work,” Green said.

Cameron Mealing

Cameron Mealing, a communication studies major from Jonesboro, is one of the recipients of the Fulbright grant. Having served in both the Marine Corps and the National Guard, Mealing returned to Jonesboro to enroll at A-State.

He spent a semester abroad in Caen, Normandy, after which he got involved in the French program at Arkansas State. 

He said studying abroad is the most rewarding part of his college experience so far.

Through the Fulbright grant, Mealing will spend a year in Senegal teaching English to students at the middle/secondary school level. He says he looks forward to going to Senegal, and the orientation in Washington, D.C., that the Fulbright scholars will have in June. 

“I get to travel again and this time it’s a great resume buffer,” Mealing said. “The one thing I’m apprehensive about is going back to that starting point of not knowing what anybody is saying anymore.” 

Regardless, Mealing was excited to learn he had received the grant.

“The application process was pretty straightforward,” Mealing said. There were multiple essays and letters of recommendation needed. Mealing was among a pool of over 10,000 applicants. 

Growing up he had high aspirations for his future. When asked what he wanted to be, Mealing replied, “the first black president.” Although that dream is no longer possible, Mealing is still working hard toward his goals. 

After his year in Senegal, he’s considering joining the Peace Corps and eventually going into international politics. 

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