UMass Dartmouth Professor creates opportunities in India for students

By Jonathan Moniz, Staff Writer

The Ruel J. and Patricia A. Hall scholarship program created by Professor Maureen Hall offers a fund of $500 for a trip to India as a student-learning or teaching opportunity.

Started in 2013, the program has run consecutively for four years since the winter of 2014. Applications are accepted until May 1 of this year for the 2017-2018 season. It features an opportunity for students in various fields that focuses on utilizing their various capabilities to provide service for students and educational programs in India.

The university that participates in the program with Professor Hall is Dev Sanskriti Vishawavidyalaya University, located in the town of Haridwar. Haridwar is located in the state of Uttarakhand. It is about six hours north of Delhi, the capital, and offers a view of the Himalayan mountains and the Ganges river.

The university is situated on 80 acres of land and “is second in beauty in flowers only to the President’s estate,” said Professor Hall.

The program is offered only to recent and current graduates, offering a stay in India and if willing to take on a teaching position, potential free room and board. The first student to go was Meaghan Gates, who went to Kerala, India, in the south. She went in the year 2014-2015.

Her objective was to help women by building kilns and to show them how to make pottery, for she graduated with an MFA in Ceramics. The kilns was used to create pottery that the women themselves would make a business out of, thereby supporting themselves and their families.

The second student to go for the year of 2015-2016 was Emily H. Butler, who got her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology.

She was the first to go to the Dev Sanskriti University in Haridwar. Working with a class of college students, she taught English communication skills and techniques.

Professor Maureen Hall has a Ph.D. in English education and has “been enthusiastic about India in all her classes.” She believes integrating with the culture and the opportunities there were an integral part of learning and for student growth.

She also had a Master of Art’s in English and American studies from the University of Virginia where she completed her Ph.D. in 1999. Her Bachelor of Art’s degree was completed at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The reasons Professor Hall created this program was due to the desire of a student who expressed interest in going, as well as the background of education her parents had. Ruel J. and Patricia A. Hall had both been very invested in education and even created a scholarship with both their names. This scholarship was the one she created in honor of them.

The reason she specifically chose India was because she had been a longtime enthusiast and maintained an avid interest in the culture, even choosing to have a Hindu wedding ceremony with her husband.

The impact they had on Professor Hall drove her to want to create increased opportunities for other students by offering them possible trips to India.

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