LOCAL TEACHER WINS FULBRIGHT
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 13:25

General John Stricker Middle School language arts teacher Ashley Silvernail will travel to Germany through a grant from the Fulbright Program.

Gen. John Stricker Middle School’s Silvernail set to travel to Germany in July

by Nicole Rodman

Ashley Silvernail has long been interested in German culture. “I studied German for four years in high school and my freshman year in college, which instilled an interest in the culture.”
    So when the General John Stricker Middle School language arts teacher heard about the chance to study in Germany through the Fulbright Program, she quickly applied.
    She learned that she had received a Fulbright grant on Valentine’s Day.
    The grant will allow Silvernail to travel to Germany this summer to participate in the Fulbright Program’s Diversity in German Education seminar.
    Established by the U.S. Congress in 1946, the Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as well as various foreign governments.
    As the State Department’s website notes, the Fulbright program “is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”
    The Fulbright program operates in 155 countries and awards approximately 8,000 grants each year.
    Silvernail’s grant will give her the chance to study the German educational system as part of the Diversity in German Education seminar in Tübingen, Germany, next month.
    Silvernail will take part in professional development exercises and visit German schools during the two-week program.
    According to the website for the seminar, “The visit in Germany offers new perspectives in education and cultural understanding through a comparison of both educational systems and societies.”
    Silvernail hopes to “gain personal as well as professional growth through this experience.”
    “Immersing yourself in a different culture for any amount of time, particularly in a way where you see how something as important as education impacts that society, makes you more well-rounded and connects you to more than the familiar,” she told The Eagle.
    Silvernail also hopes to use what she learns in Germany to connect her students to the wider world.
    “Showing my students that there is more than one approach to education and helping them see what other countries study will hopefully encourage them to value their education and strive to be global equals,” she noted.
    While she is excited for her trip next month, Silvernail is also looking forward to sharing the experience with her students in the fall.
    As she noted, “I want my students to benefit from the exposure to a different culture ... so they can appreciate and grow from the differences between them as well as recognize the similarities in hopes that these things give them confidence to engage in the global community.”