Three SMU graduates receive 2017 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Awards

Three recent SMU graduates have received 2017 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Awards (ETA). The program place Fulbright recipients in classrooms abroad to provide assistance to local English teachers. The ETA’s help teach the English language while serving as cultural ambassadors for the United States.

Adam GarnickAdam Garnick, a graduate of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, has received an ETA to teach next year in Budapest, Hungary.

Garnick earned a Master of Education degree in May. A native of Philadelphia, Garnick is an eighth-grade history teacher at Dallas’ E.H. Cary Middle School and a member of the Teach for America program. In Hungary, he will be teaching English with a focus on academic writing at Budapest Metropolitan University.

“My teaching along with my courses at SMU have provided a great foundation for what’s next,” Garnick said. “I feel prepared to teach at a university. I’m going to take the strategies I’ve learned in teaching English language learners to Budapest.”

At Simmons, Garnick conducted research on the “flipped classroom” as part of a technology and discourse course taught by Dara Rossi, clinical associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning. In a flipped classroom, students use classroom time for exploratory and collaborative work, and watch video lectures at home to prepare. “It’s a strategy I’ve been able to use in my classroom,” Garnick says. “I’m convinced it’s the future of education.”

Kristen BiedermannMaster of Education graduate Kristen Biedermann has accepted an ETA to spend 10 months teaching English at the University of Cauca in Popayan, Colombia, starting at the end of summer 2017.

“I had an opportunity to travel to Guatemala to help one of my professors with research and professional development for Guatemalan teachers on behalf of SMU,” Biedermann says. “I learned that when people acquire more than one language, it gives them an ability to connect across cultures, which is important to me, so I’ve become passionate about helping people cross barriers through learning a second language.”

That international classroom experience – and the time she spent teaching in bilingual Dallas-area classrooms before earning her Master’s in 2016 at SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development – sparked Biedermann’s interest in pursuing her studies further.

“When I come back from Colombia, I would love to go into the Ph.D. program, become a professor and do research on retention and promotion of language-minority students at the university level,” Biedermann says. “I hope to be able to work on a campus and help adult English-language-learner students succeed in higher education and conduct research that eliminates the inequities that exist at that level.”

Jennie LeeBachelor of Music and world languages graduate Jennie Lee has accepted an ETA to spend 10 months teaching English in Germany.

Building on the interests and activities she discovered at SMU before graduating in 2016, she’ll teach English through extra-curricular activities like after-school yoga classes and singing lessons.

“I studied opera in college and got a degree in vocal performance and world languages,” says Lee, who came to the University from a traditional conservatory prep school background and earned a place in the musical honor society Pi Kappa Lambda.

“The thing that drew me to SMU is the ability to get conservatory-style training – a super-intense program where I would study arts and music – but also have the opportunity to double major, because I wanted to do that too and a lot of schools don’t offer that,” Lee adds. “That was a huge pull for me.”

> Read more of their stories from SMU News