Malloy Cohen ’15, an art history major with a minor in French, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in Côte d’Ivoire. While there, Cohen will be living in Abidjan and teaching English to high school students. She will depart for Côte d’Ivoire in October and return in July 2017.
Cohen has spent the year since graduation working as an intern in the Education Department of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. She has spent the majority of her time there working on social justice-oriented community engagement programming surrounding an upcoming exhibit about police brutality against people of color. She also leads conversational tours about contemporary art for school groups and contributes research to upcoming exhibits in MASS MoCA’s Kidspace gallery.
She says she chose to pursue a Fulbright studying in Côte d’Ivoire for three reasons. The first was because of research on Ivorian youth movements she did for a French class in her senior year, and she says she saw this as a way to engage with those youth further. Another reason was to broaden her understanding of the French language. “I love French, but found most of my French classes at Oberlin focused on the language and culture from a French point of view. I wanted to learn more about the language from a new, Ivorian perspective as an ETA, and I am especially excited to learn Ivorian slang, called nouchi,” she says.
The third reason she chose Côte d’Ivoire is to continue learning about West African photography. While there, Cohen hopes to pursue a research project focusing on Ivorian street photography and portraiture—specifically, how the youth culture is being photographed, both by street photographers and young people themselves.
The Arcadia, California, native says Oberlin has prepared her for this opportunity by providing many teaching and tutoring opportunities, ranging from encouraging students to think critically and creatively about art while she served as a docent at the Allen Memorial Art Museum to tutoring local high school students in French through the Ninde Scholars program. Senior year she took part in the Writing Associate program, helping art history students improve their essays.
After her fellowship ends, Cohen plans to attend graduate school for art history in the hope of eventually pursuing a museum career as a curator of contemporary art or a museum educator.