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Prep alumnus McLeod named Fulbright Scholar

Prep alumnus McLeod named Fulbright Scholar
Posted on 05/19/2020
Maggie McLeod
Earlier this year, Maggie McLeod earned the distinction of being named a Fulbright scholar. Even with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic putting travel plans on pause, she said she’s looking forward to participating in the program.

"I'm over-the-moon excited," she said. "I feel honored to have the option to participate in a program like Fulbright. Not to mention, the scholarship is an incredible opportunity to pursue an advanced degree in a country and culture I am really passionate about"

McLeod, an Augusta Prep alumnus (c/o 2012), graduated from Emory University in 2016 with a double major (B.A. in International Studies, B.A. in Spanish Language and Literature). For the past four years, she has worked as a consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington, D.C. She works on their Artificial Intelligence Strategy Team, primarily supporting defense clients.

Last year, she applied for the Fulbright program. She learned this spring she had earned a Fulbright scholarship to pursue an MBA at IE Business School in Madrid.

According to the Fulbright web site, the U.S. Scholar program is, “the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide.”

Originally, McLeod expected to begin the program in September. That was before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The U.S. State Department issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory (Do Not Travel) in March, and the travel advisory remains in place. McLeod said the travel advisory must be lowered before she can travel to Spain. She added she hopes to have an update on the Fulbright timeline later this summer.

"We have signed the paperwork and they have assured us that we will have the opportunity to participate in the program,” she said. “The timeline of when that will be allowed is up in the air though."

McLeod said she's still figuring out her post-Fulbright plans. She said whatever she does in the future she would like to continue working in the field of artificial intelligence.

McLeod becomes the second Augusta Prep alumnus in two years to earn a Fulbright scholarship. Last year, Alexandra Helfgott earned the distinction upon graduation from the College of Charleston. She taught English to Spanish-speaking students in Mexico City before the pandemic struck.

McLeod said Augusta Prep helped prepare her when she began taking two languages - Latin and Spanish - in high school. The language work at Augusta Prep, she said, helped prepare her to become a Fulbright scholar.

"The Augusta Prep language department was great, especially for a small school," she said. "I took AP Spanish either my junior or senior year at Prep and that laid the foundation for my interest in Spanish language and literature. After high school, Spanish was one of my majors in college and I chose to study abroad for a semester in a Spanish-speaking country in college. That initial interest and those experiences were what I wrote about in my Fulbright application."
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