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​Glass ’11 Earns Fulbright Award to Teach in Turkey

1glass,-leahmain.jpgProvidence, R.I. – During the fall semester of her senior year at PC, Leah Glass ’11 (Troy, N.Y.) co-taught an Introduction to Global Studies course for independent study credit.

Little did she realize the impact that experience would have on her future.

Glass, who earned magna cum laude honors at PC as a global studies major with minors in black studies and Spanish, was recently awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to teach English and American culture at Mehmet Akif Ersoy University in Burdur, Turkey.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. Each year, the program supports approximately 1,700 U.S. citizens to engage in study, research, or teaching assistantships in more than 155 countries.

Glass is the second recent PC graduate to earn a Fulbright ETA this year. In May, Alexandra BetGeorge ’11 (Syracuse, N.Y.) received an ETA to teach English in Bulgaria.

Though Glass was familiar with the Fulbright program after her sister was awarded an ETA to teach in Russia, she wasn’t sure it teaching was the career path she wanted to follow. However, after leading the global studies course at the College, her perspective changed.

“This gave me a window of what the Fulbright experience could potentially be like,” said Glass, who was a member of the Liberal Arts Honors Program. “I was hooked. It was wonderful to connect with students and share my passion for global studies with them.”

Motivated and committed to teaching

Dr. Thomas R. King, assistant professor of management, served as Glass’ academic advisor throughout her time at the College. He also was the professor who led the course Glass co-taught.

He explained that during the spring semester of her junior year, Glass said she was interested in teaching and mentioned her intent to apply for the Fulbright.

“As I was beginning to think about my fall global studies course, I emailed her to gauge her level of interest and whether or not she had time to devote to it, “King explained. “Her immediate reaction was ‘Yes!’”

He said Glass “took his course from me and offered perspectives I had never before considered.”

“After only one class, Leah decided that playing a minor role – reading the material and attending class – was not going to suffice,” King said, adding that they arranged for her to facilitate a class discussion soon after. “That one discussion had hooked her on teaching and she asked if she could increase her involvement in the class, drop one of her free electives, and continue this class as an independent study.”

King said Glass was involved in the details of planning each class, co-facilitated discussions with him, and worked as a mentor for students in their project teams. 

“Although there were some things she could not do (e.g., grading students), she took on every task and responsibility as if this were her own class,” he said. “I think this speaks volumes about her motivation and commitment to teaching.”

Excited to teach again

Glass said a long-term goal of hers is to earn a doctoral degree and become a higher-education professor – which she said has been mainly inspired by the “wonderful mentors and teachers” she had at PC.

As for her short-term Fulbright experience, Glass said she wants to “help students learn the same way I was taught.”

“This is the perfect opportunity to take on a class, essentially by myself, and bridge a culture gap,” she said. “Not only am I going to learn a lot about myself as an educator, but I hope to give a positive image of Americans and learn a lot about Turkey and Turkish culture.”

She added, “I just plan on taking this entire experience one day at a time, allowing myself full immersion into such a rich and historical culture, and helping my students grow as much as possible.”

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