By Shawn Gilley
Contributed by Colgate University
Michael Abrahamson, a class of 2011 graduate of Colgate University from Oak Park, IL, has received a Fulbright Grant for an English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in Slovakia for 2011-2012. Abrahamson, an English literature major, graduated magna cum laude with honors in English for his thesis on Early African-American Literature.
The Fulbright Program is an international exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Government designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. For more than 60 years, these federally sponsored grants have provided future American leaders with an unparalleled opportunity to study, conduct research, and teach in other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. Currently, the Fulbright Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide and annually awards approximately 1,500 grants for U.S. citizens to study overseas. Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships are now available to over 50 countries, providing students, scholars and teachers from the United States to teach and exchange ideas.
Abrahamson will be a teaching assistant for English classes in the Private Gymnasium school of Bratislava within the Slovak Republic where he wants to help his students practice their English and teach them about American history and culture. Using the skills and techniques acquired through his various experiences tutoring and teaching, Abrahamson would like to create a positive learning environment for all the students that he will come in contact with. One of his ideas is to use networking technology to connect students with American peers who will help them practice their English. While working at Northwestern University's Center for Talent Development, Abrahamson learned how students were productive when they conducted experiments in groups so that students could share and engage with one another. He would like to instill this learning technique in the classroom. Abrahamson wants to experience living in central Europe where he has ancestral roots. Abrahamson will take advantage of recreational activities in Slovakia to learn more about the culture, as an example he plans to join a sports club in his host school either assisting as a volunteer coach or actually participating as a player.
Upon his return to the United States, Abrahamson plans on completing a Masters in Teaching to teach English literature in a secondary school before pursuing a Ph.D. in American Literature. During the academic year, he volunteered with several tutoring programs around the Hamilton, NY area including the Creative Writing Initiative and MAD homework club. Abrahamson was a member of Colgate's rugby team and an occasional humor writer for several publications including the Colgate Maroon News, Colgate Rag and CollegeHumor website. Abrahamson was awarded the Deans Award for Academic Excellence several times throughout his career and was a member of the Phi Beta Sigma Freshman Honors Society.