Michael Young

Michael YoungSupporting Teachers in Madrid

The opportunity to obtain an excellent tuition-free education first drew Michael Young to 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.

Early in his college career, he spent a paid summer as an art teacher at the Staten Island Mental Health Society. He then received a Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship, which provided paid internships 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-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, who minored in Spanish, found 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 Conservancy and GrowNYC, “improving their volunteer capacity and working in project management.”

The Fulbright 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 says.

“I want to be a teacher or a professor – I haven’t figured out secondary or college – and my childhood dream is to become a cartoonist and illustrator. I started a humor magazine in college called Operation Three-Legged Dolphin, and that was my pride and joy.”

Young adds, “I’ve been very privileged to have had all of 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.”