Monica Smith

Dr. Monica Gonzalez Smith, an associate professor in the UH Mānoa College of Education (COE) School of Teacher Education, has been named a Fulbright Scholar in the Social Sciences and Humanities in Education category. With the COE since 2017, Smith specializes in multilingual learning.

From March–July 2025, Smith will be working at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile as a visiting scholar. She will support Chilean faculty in primary and secondary education contexts with school-university partnerships to strengthen the relationships between the university and its mentor teachers.

“This award highlights my professional and cultural identities,” Smith said. “Professionally, I will expand my understanding of what other countries do to promote multilingualism in the classroom. Going abroad will allow me to share my expertise, embrace new ideas that I will bring back to Hawaiʻi to strengthen the work I do at UHM, and publish research on language equity in the classroom with a scholar I admire.”

Smith will conduct a collaborative study with Chilean scholar Dr. Malba Barahona Durán with whom she has worked through the TESOL organization over the years. Together, they will examine signature pedagogies in action and the types of lesson feedback they provide to teaching candidates in the field.

“As a speaker of the Spanish language, I’ll get to speak Spanish for professional purposes and I cannot wait to use my full linguistic repertoire to share, expand on, and build future research to inform my teaching and research here at UHM,” Smith said. “I’m excited about the long-term professional network I will create between Hawaiʻi and Chile.”

At Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Smith will also co-teach two courses: Teaching and Learning English Primary 1 to undergraduate students and Directed Research to doctoral students. The undergraduate course prepares teachers for teaching English to primary native Spanish speakers who are in grades 1–3. The doctoral course will allow her to work with graduate students who are in the final stages of their degree work and need support in designing multilingual research.

The Fulbright Program is a prestigious academic exchange program designed to expand and strengthen relationships between the people of the United States and citizens of other nations and to promote international understanding and cooperation.

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