The opportunity to obtain an excellent tuition-free education first drew Michael Young to the Macaulay Honors College at the College of Staten Island. The chance to travel nailed his decision. As an undergraduate he studied in Florence and Tokyo, in the summer after graduation in 2010, Guatemala City.
Now he is on the move once more, heading to Madrid on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship.
At CSI, where he graduated magna cum laude, Michael majored in American Studies with minors in Studio Art and Spanish. His first step was working at CSI’s Career and Scholarship Center where he was able to secure his first two internships, one, a paid summer working for the Staten Island Mental Health Society, and the other, at Marvel Comics.
The Career and Scholarship Center also encouraged him to start getting involved on campus, where he worked as a Career Mentor for the Pathfinder Program, a SEEK Mentor, and a CSI Ambassador.
He then received a Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship that provided a paid internship with Global Kids, which seeks to develop youth leaders, and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation press office.
In 2010, during his third Watson summer, Young headed to Guatemala City’s Esperanza Juvenil (Boys Hope Girls Hope), a residential, college-preparatory school for about 100 troubled youngsters in grades K through 12. He arrived not long after a volcanic eruption dumped three inches of ash on the city, Hurricane Agatha struck, and a sinkhole that National Geographic reported was 60 feet in diameter and 30 stories deep opened not far from the school.
“Suddenly, Guatemala was receiving worldwide attention just days before my arrival,” he says. “I was nervous about safety, but motivated to start teaching.”
Young, found that he was “enamored by the students, teaching in a non-native language, and immersing myself in a new culture. I treat each of these experiences as opportunities for personal growth and discovery.”
Two days after he returned home from Guatemala, he started work with the New York City Civic Corps, an Americorps program for service to the city. He worked for the nonprofit organizations Central Park Conservatory and GrowNYC, “improving their volunteer capacity and working in project management.”
Now, the Fulbright Assistantship sends him to Madrid, where he is going to work in a secondary school. “I’ll be in classrooms supporting teachers, either in English, history, or social studies. Perhaps I’ll be training teachers in the English language,” he notes.
He credits his Spanish teacher, Dr. Carlos Abad, who performed his Foreign Language evaluation for the Fulbright, and also Dr. Jane Marcus-Delgado, CSI’s on-campus Fulbright adviser, for helping him with the Fulbright application process.
“I want to be a teacher or a professor…and my childhood dream is to become a cartoonist and illustrator. I started a humor magazine called Operation Three-Legged Dolphin, and that was my pride and joy.”
Young adds, “I’ve been very privileged to have had all these opportunities. They gave me a strong framework in which to think about professional development and to build a transferrable skill set–and build a life.”