Kyla Patterson: Fulbright Scholar

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Kyla Patterson, a 2017 graduate of the BA in Writing, Rhetoric, & Discourse program, recently received the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship! WRD was able to catch up with Kyla and learn about where she will be going and what kind of work she will be doing as a Fulbright Scholar.

Beginning this autumn, Kyla will be traveling to Czechia (also known as the Czech Republic in the recent past) to participate in an English Teaching Assistant Program. As the name of the program suggests, Kyla’s main responsibility will be teaching English to elementary-aged children in Czechia for at least twenty hours every week. Kyla says, “During this time I will most likely have the classroom to myself and be in ‘full teacher’ mode.” She plans to use her experience teaching ESL in Chicago as a helpful model for her lesson planning in Czechia. Along with teaching, Kyla also plans to research literacy in Czechia. Kyla explains that the country is “one of the most literate nations in the world and I’m curious as to how they define literacy and the different practices they use to promote and implement it.”

Kyla will also be expected to engage in other ways with the Czech community. She is hopeful that she will be able to build upon her prior involvement with women’s organizations by working closely with groups that support and promote gender equality in Czechia.

Kyla decided to pursue the English Teaching Assistant Program due to her background in teaching and tutoring English. As a tutor at DePaul’s University Center for Writing-based Learning, Kyla fondly recalls having Conversation Partner appointments with ESL writers: “These were some of the most dedicated and, honestly, curious writers that I have had the pleasure to interact with.” Additionally, Kyla had the opportunity to teach ESL in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. Although the teaching experience was a challenge, Kyla says that it “lit this passion for teaching English and has inspired me to pursue it after undergrad.”

WRD and its professors played a major part in Kyla’s decision to apply for a Fulbright: “Professor Jason Schneider was the person that encouraged me to apply and acted as a sort of mentor throughout the application process. It was through his Teaching English in Chicago class that I first got my start in teaching English. Kyla goes on to say, “I think the majority of my studies in WRD have influenced me and my application in some way. This department is constantly fostering a love for learning and continually inspiring its students to seek a greater truth. With the support of this department and all of its wonderful faculty, I felt like I was truly a qualified individual for the grant. So thank you WRD!”

As Kyla begins her teaching program this autumn, she will be keeping us updated on her activities in Czechia. Stay tuned!

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