Three Doane Students Earn Fulbright Honors
Doane College has added three new scholars to its long tradition with the Fulbright program.
Doane students have been awarded this prestigious competitive scholarship 55 times since the program's inception in 1946.
Kara Maize of Lincoln will spend the next academic year as an English teaching assistant in a secondary school in Madrid, Spain. She graduated from Doane in May as a double major in elementary education and Spanish , with an endorsement in English as a Second Language (ESL). Tyler Jackman of Littleton, Colo., received an English teaching assistantship grant from the French Ministry of Education, and will teach in the Academie d'Amiens. He also graduated in May, having completed degrees in business administration and French. May 2010 graduate Kristen Erthum of Ainsworth will complete her Fulbright in a university in Egypt, teaching English and topics related to the United States.
The Fulbright program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The prestigious program is designed to "increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries."
Each time Kara walked past Education Professor Lyn Forester's door the past two years, she could count on the same line of questioning:
"Where are you at on your Fulbright application? You really should turn it in. You're a great candidate..."
As a National Merit finalist who graduated from Southwest High School in Lincoln, Kara knew she had the credentials for the application. But it's her travels with Doane that made her feel qualified for both the Fulbright and her future career.
Kara had the opportunity to complete her ESL student teaching in Panama City, Panama, during the summer of 2008. She was one of three Doane elementary education majors to participate in the first-time exchange. Kara spent six weeks teaching English to kindergarten-through-third grade students at Republica de Chile, an urban elementary school.
"I fell in love with (ESL). It's a very active type of learning and the classrooms just have a different feel, a stronger sense of community."
She traveled to Thailand in January 2009 with a group of Doane education majors to teach in a school in Bangkok. She had to learn to convey lessons to students who spoke little English.
"That was the first time I'd really been challenged culturally. I couldn't read anything. I couldn't understand anything being spoken. As a future ESL teacher, I was finally in my students' shoes of complete insecurity - what they must feel like stepping into my classroom on Day 1."
On the opposite side of that spectrum, she said, "I realized that despite all of the language barriers, we could still communicate. Things like smiles and hugs are totally universal."
Kara chose Doane based on the strength of its Education Department and its emphasis on study abroad, something she knew she wanted to try.
Between the study abroad programs and the $1,000 travel scholarship available to each Doane student, "I could see travel was really valued at Doane."
Kara also traveled to Mexico for a January interterm class and spent fall 2009 studying abroad in Granada, Spain, completing an intensive Spanish language program.
On campus, she participated in band, the college dance team, Honors Program, Student Education Association, Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Honor Society, and Cardinal Key.
Now completing student teaching at Meadow Lane, its teachers and students were among the first to learn she was officially a Fulbright.
"I found out five minutes before the morning bell rang and school began. It was a memorable day."
After her year abroad, Kara would like to teach in a bilingual elementary school.
Although Tyler is a business administration and French major, his time studying abroad in France showed him he also enjoys teaching.
Tyler spent four months of his junior year abroad in Rennes, in the region of Brittany, France, and taught English while there.
Teaching and observing other teachers showed him he likes the challenge the language barrier presents.
"I had one teacher who was phenomenal. She acted everything out and didn't even speak the students' native language. After watching her, I tried to incorporate her teaching style into mine."
His time in France, the people he met, and the beauty of 14th Century architecture also taught him something else:
"I knew I wanted to go back."
The Fulbright allows him to teach and return to France.
Tyler is the fourth-generation of the Jackman family to graduate from Doane. His uncle, Daniel, a current Board of Trustee member, urged him to visit.
"I came and fell in love with the campus. I love the outdoors, so the beauty of the campus was a huge plus. After being in a large school I really wanted to try a small one."
The study abroad program was the deciding factor.
He has one piece of advice for future students who want to learn a foreign language in a foreign place.
"I went over and basically tried to avoid Americans. My best suggestion to those studying abroad is to talk as much as they can to people who don't speak English."
In four months, he said, "I went from not speaking very comfortably to speaking conversations fluently."
Although he knew he wanted to get back to Europe, Doane is hard to leave.
It's where he bonded with cross country and track teammates, and made memories like the trip to Vancouver, Wash., as one of six senior qualifiers for the national cross country meet. An All-Scholar athlete, he also participated in Cardinal Key, National Honor Society and Doane Ambassadors.
Through the Ambassadors, he gave tours of Doane to potential students for 2 ½ years.
"It gave me the opportunity to constantly be reminded of what I love about campus. When I gave tours, I could leave academics and everything behind for a few minutes and really show what the campus has to offer."
After the Fulbright, Tyler's long-term plans are to attend graduate school.
Kristen came to Doane knowing she wanted to leave with both a degree and a Fulbright.
One of the best things about the college, she said, is that no one ever questioned that goal.
"No one ever doubted or tried to dissuade me."
When it comes to goals, she has a good track record.
Kristen grew up in Ainsworth, a western Nebraska town that prides itself on being "In the Middle of Nowhere." She lived on a ranch, three hours from the nearest Wal-Mart or shopping mall.
She spent her first eight years of school in a two-room schoolhouse and was the only student in her class. She went on to graduate from Ainsworth High School as valedictorian of a class of 54 students, and then came to Doane on a full-tuition scholarship.
For her, Doane was the ideal blend of small town (she met the President on her campus visit) and big possibilities.
Despite her full schedule - sometimes carrying up to 22 credit hours - she threw herself into activities, a list that included Chi Delta sorority member and officer, Sertoma, a residence hall council, Mock Trial performance coach for Crete High School, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Hansen Leadership Committee, Doane Honors Program, Doane Ambassador and Doane Phonathon caller and student manager.
The summer before her senior year, she achieved another lofty goal: to further her knowledge of the Middle East and the Arabic language.
In the summer of 2009, she traveled to Amman, Jordan, to study abroad through the Council on International Educational Exchange, completing the Arabic Language Summer Semester.
She spoke no Arabic when she arrived.
"After seven weeks of five-hour-a-day intensive Arabic I could carry on casual conversations in Arabic with my cab drivers."
Back on campus, studies with Fulbright Scholar-In-Resident Magda El Mahalawy of Egypt helped her become fluent in speaking, reading and writing Arabic.
El Mahalawy is just one in a list of people and events that shaped her time at Doane and her Fulbright application. She'll long remember the inspiring words of Jane Goodall when Goodall lectured on campus; her interterm trip to Iowa to experience the life of a studio artist and three professors who also became her mentors.
After completing her Fulbright, Kristen is looking forward to tackling her next goal, one she set back in high school and her first Mock Trial competitions.
She would like to earn a law degree and use it in a humanitarian way.
Ultimately, "My goal is to help people....By getting my juris doctorate in either criminal or international law, I will hopefully be able to do my part to make this world a little bit more livable."