Accomplished Scholar Chooses Mason for Graduate Spanish Program

Posted: October 12, 2009 at 1:01 am, Last Updated: February 5, 2010 at 10:07 am

By Catherine Ferraro

Emily Adelman. Photo courtesy of Emily Adelman

Emily Adelman. Photo courtesy of Emily Adelman

Emily Adelman has always had two major goals: to help others and excel in the arts. Selected from 678 applicants across the country as one of 30 students to receive a 2009 Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Scholarship, Adelman is pursuing her interests in adult education and literacy at Mason this fall.

Since it was launched in 2000, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has helped students with financial needs reach their full potential through education.

Adelman chose to attend Mason because it is the only university in the Washington, D.C., area that offers a master’s degree in Spanish with a focus on bilingual and multicultural education.

Originally from Delray Beach, Fla., Adelman was an outstanding student at Cornell University, where she majored in Spanish with a concentration in Latin American studies. During her time at Cornell, she developed an interest in reaching out to others less fortunate than herself.

She was involved with the Community Learning and Service Partnership at Cornell and tutored an adult service worker in GED test preparation. In addition, she volunteered as a conversation partner for English language learners, a translator at the Red Cross and a reading tutor at an after school program.

Never neglecting her interest in the arts, Adelman was a member of Teatrotaller (Spanish for “theatre workshop”) at Cornell and was also chair of the CUTonight Commission, which provided funding for late-night cultural and social events at Cornell. In addition, she received the Dorothy Sugarman Prize for Poetry.

According to Adelman, the most life-changing moments of her undergraduate years occurred off campus. After a semester studying abroad at the University of Salamanca in Spain, Adelman conducted independent research in Argentina as a Tanner Dean’s Scholar, studying a grassroots adult literacy project.

This research led to her honors thesis, which analyzed the connections between adult literacy campaigns and popular movements in Latin America. Adelman earned summa cum laude honors for her thesis and was awarded the J.G. White Prize for Excellence in Spanish from the Department of Romance Studies at Cornell.

After receiving the John F. Kennedy Memorial Award for Public Service and graduating from Cornell in 2005, Adelman moved to Maryland and began working in outreach and community organizing at the Latino Economic Development Corporation (LEDC), a community-based economic development organization. She also served as a loan officer for LEDC’s microloan program.

In her most recent position, she was a local first program manager, working with alliances of local, independently owned businesses in Silver Spring and Wheaton on two “buy local” outreach campaigns.

“During my time at LEDC, I had the opportunity to experience various facets of our work,” says Adelman. “When one of our clients would do business with another client or teach a friend how to build good credit, we could actually see the impact of community development happening before our eyes.”

After attaining her master’s degree, Adelman hopes to teach Spanish in adult educational settings such as community colleges and will continue to work with the Latino community in the Washington, D.C., area.

In her free time, Adelman is actively involved with the dance ministry at her church in Wheaton. In addition, she enjoys cooking, reading nonfiction, the outdoors, the arts and learning to speak Brazilian Portuguese.

“I feel extremely fortunate to be a recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Scholarship,” says Adelman.  “The Foundation has not only alleviated the financial burden of graduate school, but also provided a support network of other scholars, staff and people from the academic and professional community.”

Write to mediarel at gazette@gmu.edu