Issac McGee, a graduate student majoring in business and marketing education, will continue a SUNY Oswego tradition as a finalist for the prestigious U.S. Student Fulbright English Teaching Award when he travels to the Czech Republic for several months.

McGee will teach English as a teaching assistant from August 2024 to June 2025, and it is the next chapter in a transformation from the world of business into serving the world in the field of education.

“The Fulbright is a really prestigious grant,” McGee said. “For me, I’m looking forward to becoming a cultural ambassador, and not only will I be teaching English, but I’ll be giving them insight on being an African American in America. It’s just a great opportunity to be an ambassador.”

When McGee was a bank manager, after earning his business administration from Alfred State, he found a higher calling that led him down his current path.

“What really got me into teaching was that when I was a manager at a bank, I was teaching financial literacy to underprivileged neighborhoods and those who didn’t understand financial literacy at all,” McGee said. “That made me want to teach in high school. I had seen the need and wanted to fill the role.”

Oswego experience

SUNY Oswego’s Career and Technical Educator Preparation Department stood out as an avenue that incorporates professional experience into the transition to the classroom. The department’s chair, Benjamin Ogwo, recommended McGee for the university’s Teacher Opportunity Corps (TOC), which provides opportunities for underrepresented students to excel in their development.

“Being a minority teacher, Dr. Ogwo said that it was a great program that gave a forum to express yourself and to network,” McGee recalled. 

“I did it for the last year of my studies,” McGee said of the TOC program. “It was very enlightening because I was able to go to different networking events, like in Albany to discuss expanding opportunities for black and brown teachers. I was able to present at an event called My Brother’s Keeper, where we discussed stress and issues related to being a black and brown teacher in the U.S. It was a forum and information on self-care and different things like that.”

Nichole Brown, director of the School of Education’s Clinical Practice and Partnerships Office, made McGee aware of the Fulbright opportunities. McGree met with Lyn Blanchfield, a history faculty member and advisor for the university’s Fulbright, Gilman and Boren programs that provide excellent academic opportunities abroad. Blanchfield helped McGee pursue this prestigious opportunity, which brought the good news in late March.

McGee developed an interest in international experiences after visiting Barcelona, Spain, with his wife. That the Czech Republic opportunity provides spouse support –- and the availability to travel around Europe during that time as well – made it a great fit.

“It’s an opportunity to build my resume with my experience teaching,” McGee said. “They have a great network of people who can help you and guide you in your search for jobs and other goals you might have in your career.”

And it dovetails with another chapter in McGee’s ongoing strive for excellence, as he starts SUNY Oswego’s renowned educational leadership program, beginning to take those classes over the summer.

“I’m looking forward to learning a lot about a culture, and looking forward to learning more about their educational system, which is vastly different from ours,” McGee said of his Fulbright opportunities. “I look forward to the different foods, different cuisines and their very different history.” 

For information about McGee's academic programs, visit the web pages for Career and Technical Education MSEd, Online and Educational Leadership CAS, Online.

About Fulbright Student Awards

The next U.S. Student Fulbright cycle opened for applications on April 2, and current students are invited to learn more about applying for these opportunities. For more information, visit the Fulbright Program website and/or email

The Fulbright Student U.S. citizens who will conduct research, teach English and provide expertise abroad for the upcoming academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Candidates are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by Congress to the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the program, which operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.