SESP Seniors Win Fulbright Teaching Fellowships

SESP Seniors Win Fulbright Teaching Fellowships

Fulbright fellowsTamar Eisen (l), Arielle Ticho

School of Education and Social Policy seniors Arielle Ticho and Tamar Eisen have received prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistant fellowships for the 2017-18 academic year.

Ticho, a social policy major with a concentration in education policy and a Spanish minor, will teach in Colombia. Eisen, whose interests lie in both education and public health, will teach in India.

Both Ticho and Eisen were inspired to pursue teaching by previous experiences in the classroom and through School for International Training (SIT) Study Abroad programs. Ticho compared the education systems of Chile and Argentina through a semester-long SIT program, while Eisen spent a month in India with SIT’s multi-country International Honors Program.

For Eisen, returning to India, “will be a vital step toward my goal of creating a more just and healthy world,” she said.

The competitive Fulbright English Teaching Assistant programs place grantees in schools overseas to supplement local English language instruction and expose students to a native speaker.

The Fulbright scholarship program, an international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is designed to foster leadership and build understanding between scholars in the United States and other cultures. 

Arielle Ticho

Ticho has seemingly always wanted to be a teacher. In kindergarten, she was the child sitting cross-legged on the floor, reading Corduroy to her young classmates and pointing to the words with her finger.

In high school, Ticho volunteered as a classroom assistant in a nearby elementary school that, unlike her own, had few resources. That was when she decided to pursue a career in teaching and education policy to help address educational inequality in public schools.

At Northwestern, Ticho tutored students from predominately Spanish-speaking countries as a volunteer teaching assistant at several elementary and middle schools.

She also spent two summers with the Breakthrough Collaborative in Boston, a college access program for underrepresented students, where she worked with non-native English speakers.

She interned for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Legislation and Congressional affairs, where she wrote summary briefs of congressional hearings on the Every Student Succeeds Act.

“I learned how politics can affect students’ educational opportunities, which affirmed my belief that the informed crafting and execution of laws and regulations is critical to the success of our education system,” she wrote in her application.

In Colombia, Ticho plans to lead a reading hour and related creative arts projects for younger children in the local library to engage the community. “The programming could spark children’s interest in reading and strengthen my ties to the neighborhood,” she said.

She also will interview teachers who use the "Escuela Nueva" pedagogical model, focused on child-centered, cooperative, and self-paced learning, as a model for her own teaching.

When she returns to the U.S., Ticho will begin the Urban Teachers elementary teacher residency program in Washington D.C. She hopes to teach for at least five years and use her classroom experience to create effective policies.

Ultimately, Ticho wants to work in education policy at the state level “to further educational equity by helping to restructure the funding system of schools.”

Tamar Eisen

Eisen was just 13 when she volunteered as a teaching assistant in a kindergarten class and as a Spanish tutor for elementary school students. Throughout high school, she helped children with disabilities learn to read, taught Hebrew to younger students and volunteered at a Spanish learning charter school in Washington D.C.

At Northwestern, Eisen tutored children at a homeless shelter and at a local elementary school and worked in a preschool.

In India, she’ll teach language through song, acting and popular media, a strategy she discovered while working with an 8-year-old girl in the Books and Breakfast program, which provides tutoring to low-income students in Evanston/Skokie School District 65.

The two were singing songs from the movie Frozen when Eisen realized the girl was picking up English. “So I began to teach her vocabulary and grammar through her favorite popular music,” she said.

Eisen also will start a cooking class and volunteer at a local health clinic to gain insights on access to health care for children. “Health and education are inextricably intertwined and the (Fulbright) will give me the space to connect my classroom and community engagement in a meaningful way,” she said.

Eisen’s long-range plans include working at a non-profit or non-governmental organization in education policy, global health or children’s rights before pursuing a master’s in public health or public policy.

“Ultimately, these experiences will inform my personal and professional pursuit of helping young people realize their potential and improve access to healthcare,” she said.  

More about the U.S. student program

All enrolled Northwestern students must apply to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program through the University's Office of Fellowships, which will celebrate all Northwestern Fulbright awardees in May, after all awardees have been notified. 

View a complete list of Northwestern's 2016-17 Fulbright students

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 5/16/17