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Alumna’s Fulbright Fellowship Results in Book of Amazon Myths


chase lioWhen Fulbright scholar Mallory Massie ’11 wasn’t serving as a language assistant at the Universidad Nacional de la Amazonia Peruana in Iquitos, Peru, she was teaching creative writing. The Amazon myths and legends that her students wrote about will be published this spring in a book being funded by the United States Embassy in Lima, Peru.

“I’m really proud of all my students,” said Massie, an English and Spanish double major. “They all worked very hard and were fully engaged in the creative process.”

Massie earned a Fulbright scholarship to be an English teaching assistant in Peru from February to December of 2012. On weekdays, she assisted a language teacher at the university, but found the university didn’t have the financial or technological resources to support a proper English learning and writing program. Massie offered to teach a creative writing workshop, similar to the one she took at LMU, to help her students learn English and tap into their creativity.

“I loved sharing creative writing with my students, because my professors had shared it with me,” Massie said. “Creative writing moves students to explore, and it’s a great tool for motivation. Also, it can really help when a student is learning a second or third language.”

About 16 students met with Massie on the weekends for two hours. They wrote short stories and poems based on the myths and legends of the Amazon they grew up hearing. Massie submitted their work to the U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru, which approved a book compilation. The book also includes a teaching component, so that it can be distributed to schools as a teaching resource as well. 

“It’s thrilling for the students to be able share the myths of their culture with the rest of Peru and the U.S.,” Massie said. “The stories are interesting, relevant and easy to understand.  It’s also a great reading tool that uses language in creative ways.”

Massie plans to pursue a master’s degree in bilingual education and get her teaching credentials. She hopes to teach English as a second language.

“I’ve always wanted to pursue teaching in some way,” Massie said. “I really appreciated this opportunity to explore and succeed.”