Thomas, a Center for Public Service fellow, first gained cross-cultural experience by traveling with Tri-S to London in 2005. Since London, she has participated in five additional Tri-S trips and in May will travel to Australia. [Pictured left with students in Russia.]
“Carrie exemplifies the scholar/leader who is committed to academic excellence, international travel and education, public service, as well as campus and community leadership,” said Joel Shrock, Director of Center for Public Service. “Carrie's record of accomplishments is beyond impressive, it is dazzling.”
Through each international experience, Thomas learned it was possible to pursue her career outside the traditional American public school system. Along with a strong interest in European culture, Thomas started her international teaching journey at Anderson University by serving on the licensing feasibility committee for adding the English as a New Language Program. She will be receiving a certification in English as a New Language.
“Dr. Nelson encouraged me to think about applying for the Fulbright Scholarship during an international politics class I took in the fall of my junior year,” said Thomas. Thomas started the application process after accepting a position at Dubravushka Boarding School in Obninsk, Russian Federation, as an English Language teacher for students ages 5-17.
Most recently, Thomas was a student teacher in Vienna, Austria, this past semester at the Danube International School. She student taught English A and English as a Second Language, in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme for grades 6-10.
“Both Russia and Austria were different opportunities and experiences,” said Thomas. “In Russia, teaching was more difficult because I had few resources and little structure with which to work. In Vienna, I had more support and was paired with a great collaborating teacher as opposed to teaching on my own. I think teaching on my own first was a more backwards approach but one that served as a great opportunity.” [Pictured right in Vienna.]
Thomas’ award is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Her responsibilities will include teaching English as a foreign language at Gymnasium Jura Hronca (Grammar and Secondary High School) in Bratislava, Slovakia. She will also work on conducting some independent research on language teaching and the education system of Slovakia.
Thomas is graduating May 9 with a 4.0 GPA and is a Presidential Scholar, Sigma Tau Delta (English Honors Society) 2007-08 president, Kappa Delti Pi (Education Honors Society) 2007-08 secretary, AU International Education Committee member, AU English as a New Language Committee member and Athletic Committee member. Thomas also started her own Carrie Thomas Youth in Philanthropy Endowed Fund through the Hendricks Community Foundation which provides grants to youth organizations and is a member of AU's Women's Golf Team.
She is the only AU English major to have received the Recognition of Excellence for her PRAXIS II English Language, Literature, and Composition exam. This honor is earned by scoring in the top 15 percent of candidates nationwide who took the test in the past five years.
“Carrie is best described as an ambitious academician, intellectually courageous, highly admired by faculty and students, always considerate of the needs of others, and one who works well with people of all ages and backgrounds,” said Dean of the School of Education Diana Ross. “She has been an outstanding student leader at Anderson University.” [Pictured left in Slovakia.]
Thomas’ grant starts in the fall of 2009 and will last 10 months. She plans to start graduate work in the future on comparative and international education along with second language acquisition.
“It is amazing how God places people in your life at the right time and right place,” said Thomas. “ God has blessed me with opportunities like Tri-S, ENL and people like Dr. Nelson, Dr. Shrock, and Dr. Ross who have helped shape and guide my future plans.”
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” With this goal as a starting point, the Fulbright Program has provided almost 300,000 participants—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
— Stefanie Leiter is the Web Content Manager at Anderson University.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,800 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.