June 5, 2017
By Bob Grimson '81
Though she grew up in a family of educators, when Marisa Glenn ’17 came to Bradley, being a teacher wasn’t her intention. She planned to become a school psychologist.
But after getting involved with the preschool practicum at a nearby Peoria elementary school, the psychology major changed her plans. As Bradley’s newest Fulbright teaching assistant, she’ll teach American studies and English next school year at a pair of high schools in Steyr, a city of about 38,000 in Upper Austria.
“I’m excited to experience a different perspective, actually call it home rather than just be a traveler,” Glenn said. “I’m excited for the friendships that are going to form and the relationships and education they’re going to foster.”
Glenn, who double-minored in German and women’s/gender studies, visited Germany and Austria while in high school, and studied in Ireland during a May interim at Bradley. Still, she realizes the German she learned in the classroom differs from what she’ll be using in her everyday life.
“That’s one of the more scary facts of going abroad. I’m nervous about picking up on that,” she said, adding that being around native speakers is a distinct advantage for her future plans — a graduate degree in linguistics and eventual career as a high school language teacher.
Glenn, who grew up in Urbana, Ill., gets a monthly stipend as a Fulbright teaching assistant, but is responsible for her expenses.
“Going somewhere completely on my own and living for a year where I don’t know anyone is very daunting,” she said. “It’s exciting on one hand, terrifying on the other. It’s not an hour-and-a-half down the road.”
She said Austrian high schools are often more focused on students’ future careers, offering additional specialized training in areas like culinary arts or the trades, but her assigned schools are more generalized.
“I’m hoping to learn about how to work with high school students, especially in another country. Seeing how it works in other countries, learning what works with their students and what doesn’t.”
She credits Alexandra Hagen, assistant professor of German, with shepherding her through the Fulbright application process, which started last October and finished after winter break. “I owe it all to her. I wouldn’t have thought of it otherwise.”
Glenn has been active in several campus groups, including Kappa Phi and Alpha Chi Omega, where she held executive positions.
“I would never have imagined myself four years ago thinking that I’d do this,” she said. “In a year, I hope to be more aware of myself and my aspirations and come home with a new perspective.”