Monday, May 9, 2016

The University of Iowa College of Education saw a record-breaking year for those receiving Fulbright grants, with the highly competitive program awarding 2016-2017 English Teaching Assistantships to Lauren Darby, Abigail Grilli, and Amanda Kloser.

“The Fulbright Program is the flagship international exchange program,” says Nicholas Colangelo, dean of the College of Education. “Amanda, Lauren, and Abigail represent the excellence in our college and the future of teaching — I am honored to have these three young Hawkeye teachers as part of our family.”

Lauren Darby’s (MA ‘15, social studies education) Fulbright grant will take her to Germany, where she will teach English in a K-12 classroom and looks forward to learning how the German school system operates.

“Because education is an important factor in our understandings of citizenship and identity, I wanted to study how different countries' educational systems operate and shape views on society and the nation,” Darby says.

The Massachusetts native was drawn to the Fulbright program because of her background in German history and language. Darby plans to create a collaborative partnership between students of immigrant descent in Germany and first-generation American students in Iowa using video conferencing and social media.

Abigail Grilli (BA ‘15, elementary education) will spend the year in Greece, where she plans to combine her love of teaching with her enduring interest in the Mediterranean country’s culture.

“I am excited to compare the educational system in Greece to that in America” Grilli says. “I will use my experience in Greece to benefit my future students once I return home.”

Grilli, who has been working at a middle school in River Forest, Ill., hopes to teach English to elementary or middle school students, while getting involved in the after school speech and debate team. As the former captain of the UI Diving Team, she also looks forward to coaching diving and other sports during her time abroad.

Amanda Kloser (MAT ’16, secondary education English), who graduates this May, is heading to Turkey where she plans to teach English to university students, focusing on group work and daily immersion exercises while exploring connections between Turkish and Native American literature.

“I think this experience will be an incredible opportunity to challenge myself as an educator, scholar, and citizen of the world,” Kloser says. “It's easy to remain regional and disconnect; I expect my experience in Turkey will allow me to interact with individuals from different ethnicities, creeds, backgrounds, and perspectives I may have never encountered without this opportunity.”

While in Turkey, Kloser, a Dubuque, Iowa native, also plans to use her experiences as a technology assistant to collaborate with her Turkish university colleagues on extending their curriculum to online environments.

The highly competitive Fulbright Program, created by U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright in 1946 and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, provides grants annually for international research and teaching in an effort to foster global partnership and cultural exchange.

“The College of Education is so very proud that this has been a record year for the Fulbright Program,” says Colangelo.

For more information on applying for a Fulbright through the University of Iowa, visit the UI Fulbright page.