Two stellar seniors, each with a passion for helping others learn, are packing their bags for a year to teach English in foreign countries while serving as cultural ambassadors for the United States.
Susanna Dart, a dual major in biological sciences and German, will spend the next academic year as an English teaching assistant in Germany, while Spanish and sociology major Brielle Giesemann is heading to Colombia as part of the prestigious cultural teaching exchange program known as the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.
In addition to their roles as Fulbright teaching assistants, the two also will meet, work, live with and learn from the people of their host countries.
For Dart, who studied abroad for a year in Germany at the University of Konstanz, the Fulbright honor is the large bow that wraps up dozens of her honors and achievements at NAU—including a recent Gold Axe award and recognition as the Outstanding Senior for the Department of Global Languages and Cultures. She likened her experiences as a volunteer art teacher for elementary-aged children to her approach to teaching English as a foreign language.
“I helped students come to appreciate that learning is sometimes messy and that while the outcome may not be exactly what they envisioned, what is important is that they learned something on the way,” Dart said. “This is an important skill when learning languages as well.”
After completing her Fulbright exchange, she plans to return to the U.S. to pursue a master’s in environmental education.
Giesemann, too, is eager to explore education in a global context. She spent nine months studying in Santiago, Chile, which she called a “powerfully influential experience.” She said she looks forward to returning to a region she finds intriguing. “I am eager to learn more about Colombia’s unique story from firsthand experience and immersion,” she said. “I will be challenged to adapt to the demands of higher education and a rich, but unfamiliar culture.
In addition to receiving the Gold Axe award, Giesemann also was recognized as one of three outstanding seniors in sociology as well as in Spanish and will be the standard bearer for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences during her commencement ceremonies next week.
After her fellowship ends, Giesemann intends to pursue master’s and doctoral degrees in public sociology, gender studies, queer studies or Spanish linguistics.