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Bethlehem, Pa., May 7, 2012—In just a few short months, Jamie Thierolf ’12 (Lititz, Pa.) will board a plane headed for Madrid, Spain, where she will spend nine months as a teacher’s assistant in an English classroom in a bilingual high school. Thierolf learned just last week that she has been awarded the Fulbright Grant for the English Teaching Assistantship to Madrid.
Thierolf first considered the possibility of applying for a Fulbright when she was a sophomore, and she prepared her application a year ago. The nearly month-long process then led to several months of waiting. “I heard in January that I was recommended by the United States and then it took another four months to be accepted by Spain,” she says.
Much of her college career has seemingly been spent preparing for this day—as a Spanish/Elementary Education Certification major and a history minor. Thierolf plans to teach when she returns to the United States, but also is interested in speech pathology and speech therapy.
“Jamie is an extraordinarily strong student,” says Nilsa Lasso-von Lang, associate professor of Spanish, who taught Thierolf in several courses. “She studied abroad in Chile, and had no problems adjusting to a different culture, and she is always responsible, organized, energetic and enthusiastic.”
Thierolf completed her Honors project last fall, titled Best Teaching Strategies for Spanish-Speaking English Language Learners (ELLs). In her thesis, she condensed the different programs available for ELLs, and lists general strategies general education teachers can use in their own classroom, says Lasso-von Lang.
In addition to her studies, Thierolf worked as a full-time teacher’s assistant for a local Intermediate Unit in 2009. She has been involved in Colleges Against Cancer, Campus Community Connection, Habitat for Humanity, the Learning Connection, Christian Fellowship and AmeriCorps Community Fellows. She also served as a Resident Advisor and a Spanish tutor, and has been recognized by the leadership fraternity Omicron Delta Kappa.
“I always felt at home here at Moravian, and now I am very interested to see where the Spanish language first originated, after studying in South America,” says Thierolf. “I also will get to travel around Europe and improve my Spanish skills.”
Last year, Moravian’s Anne Dutlinger, associate professor of art, and alumna Cynthia Dretel ’10 were awarded Fulbright Scholar Awards. Thierolf is the tenth person from Moravian College to win a prestigious Fulbright in the past thirteen years.
Thierolf joins the ranks of nearly 300,000 Fulbright Grant recipients since Congress began the program in 1946 to "enable the government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries." Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright program is the largest international exchange program offering opportunities for students, scholars, and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research and teaching opportunities.
The U.S. Congress created the Fulbright Program in 1946, immediately after World War II, to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges. Today the Fulbright Program is the U.S. Government's premier scholarship program. It enables U.S. students, artists and other professionals to benefit from unique resources all over the world. The Fulbright (Full Grant) provides round-trip transportation; language or orientation courses, where appropriate; tuition, in some cases; book and research allowances; and maintenance for the academic year. The U.S. Student Program is designed to give recent B.S./B.A. graduates, masters and doctoral candidates, and young professionals and artists opportunities for personal development and international experience. Most grantees plan their own programs.
Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Moravian partners with students to build a strong foundation for their future. Visit the College’s Web site at www.moravian.edu. For more information on commencement at Moravian, visit http://www.moravian.edu/studentLife/commencement/.