Education grad student receives $10,000 French Dual Language fellowship

KINGSTON, R.I. – August 26, 2021 – James Cahan, of Warren, a graduate student in the University of Rhode Island School of Education’s master in TESOL/Bilingual and Dual Language Immersion program, was awarded a $10,000 fellowship grant from the French-American Cultural Exchange Foundation’s French Dual Language Fund.

Cahan is a French immersion middle school teacher in Holliston, Massachusetts.

The Future Immersion Teacher fellowship encourages new teachers to enter the field of immersion education and supports current French teachers to pursue dual language certifications. Fellowship scholars receive up to $10,000 to pursue graduate degrees and certification programs to prepare them for roles as French immersion teachers.

“As our society becomes more culturally and linguistically diverse, multilingualism will become a more valuable skill. Immersion education not only builds language skills, but also promotes intercultural awareness and understanding,” Cahan said. “I hope that immersion education becomes an accessible option for future generations of students.”

The French Embassy launched the French Dual Language Fund in partnership with the French-American Cultural Exchange Foundation to serve as a grant/scholarship funder supporting educators within the growing network of public French dual language and immersion programs in the U.S. 

French President Emmanuel Macron officially inaugurated the Fund in New York in 2017.  URI has been a partner with the French Embassy and foundation since 2018. 

According to the foundation’s website, dual language and immersion programs in U.S. public schools are rapidly expanding but struggle with teacher recruitment and retention.

Through partnering with a select network of American universities, the FIT Fellowship scholarships help future French immersion teachers to pursue graduate degrees and specialized certifications in dual language and immersion education.

Cahan is the third URI student to receive the fellowship. Karla Gonzalez-Lynch, an undergraduate student earning a degree in elementary education, TESOL, and French-Bilingual and Dual Language certifications, was the 2020 recipient of a $5,000 scholarship. In 2018, Alexandra Fish received a $10,000 scholarship and now teaches French in a dual language school in Maine.

“There is an increasing demand for French dual-language certified teachers for the growing French-immersion programs. With his enthusiasm, dedication, and hard-work, James will be a great asset to the program,” said Rabia Hos, URI associate professor of TESOL/Bilingual-Dual Language Education.