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Fulbright Scholars Teaching at PCC This Year

Fulbright scholars Valeria Guerra, left, and Xiu-Wen Lin, right, will teach at PCC during the 2011-12 academic year.

WINTERVILLE—When Pitt Community College employees met for convocation this month, President G. Dennis Massey announced the addition of two new instructors who will be teaching foreign language courses at the college this year through the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program.

Sponsored by the federal government, the Fulbright Program is the country’s flagship international educational exchange effort. It was established to increase mutual understanding between U.S. citizens and people of other countries and has provided learning opportunities to nearly 300,000 participants.

"The Fulbright Program is another tool that PCC is using to better prepare our students and our community for the global economy,” said Andre Gregory, PCC’s International Programs and Services Coordinator. “It is an honor for any college or university to host a Fulbright scholar. It is very rare that a community college has the opportunity to host one, let alone two.”

Gregory said Valeria Guerra and Xiu-Wen Lin would be teaching Spanish and Mandarin, respectively, throughout the 2011-12 academic year.

Guerra, a native of Uruguay, is currently teaching Spanish 111 (Elementary Spanish I) and Spanish 120 (Spanish for the Workplace). She has four years of teaching non-native English speakers—most recently at the Alianza Cultural Uruguay-Estados Unidos, a bi-national center that serves as a bridge between the United States and Uruguay.

Guerra said she applied to the FLTA Program to refine her teaching skills and enrich her knowledge of American culture. She explained that she also wanted to provide her hosts with an opportunity to learn her country’s language and experience its culture from a native Uruguayan.

“Having a Fulbright Scholar from Uruguay allows us to see a different perspective of Latin culture,” Gregory said. “It also gives us an opportunity to make connections that can result in future study abroad opportunities for our students.”

Lin, a Taiwan native, will begin teaching Mandarin I courses Sept. 6 through the college’s Continuing Education Division. She has four years of English language teaching experience and currently works with the Fulbright Program in her home country.

Lin said she pursued the FLTA teaching opportunity to “further increase my understanding of America and its abundant variety of cultures.” She added that she would also like to share Taiwanese culture with her students and help “grow mutual understanding between America and Taiwan.”

“Having a Fulbright scholar from Taiwan is a direct result of our continued partnership with [China’s] Wuxi Institute of Technology,” Gregory said. “In order to prepare our students and staff for both teaching and learning opportunities in China, it is important that they are able to speak the language.

“Many businesses have also inquired about PCC offering Mandarin language courses.”

Since 1968, the FLTA Program has enabled young educators to refine their teaching skills, increase their English language proficiency and extend their knowledge of the cultures and customs of the United States while engaging in non-degree studies at accredited post-secondary U.S. educational institutions.

The process for becoming an FLTA participant is extensive for both the applicants and the colleges and universities seeking Fulbright scholars.

Gregory said that once PCC’s application was approved, the college was sent a list of five FLTAs that fit its needs. The list, he said, was reviewed and ranked by PCC’s Foreign Language Department and sent back to officials with the Fulbright Program, who then selected Guerra and Lin.