Senior set for postgrad experience teaching abroad through Fulbright Program

April 29, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For one Penn State senior, traveling the world has always been part of her plans. So, it’s only fitting that following commencement she’ll be headed to a familiar destination.

Alanna Powers, who will graduate with degrees in advertising/public relations and English on May 4, was selected to complete an English teaching assistantship in the Czech Republic during the 2019-20 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. The destination is perfect for Powers, who studied abroad during the summer prior to her junior year through the CzechMates program coordinated by a former Penn State faculty member.

“I really, really loved the Czech Republic a lot more than I thought I would,” Powers said. “I’ve always wanted to spend some time abroad after graduation but I didn’t just want to travel, I wanted to actually be doing something.”

Powers will be teaching English to high school students at a technologies and services school in the small town of Dvur Kralove nad Labem. She expects to do a lot of one-on-one work with students who need extra help.

Powers has prepared for the trip by staying in contact with Michael Elavksy, the former faculty member who now works with the CzechMates program. She also has connected with 2018 Penn State graduate Emily Kohlman, who completed an English teaching assistantship in the Czech Republic during the 2018-19 academic year.

As part of the Fulbright Program, Powers will have the opportunity to combine her two degrees with a side project that will focus on social media literacy for students in the same age range. Powers recently completed a social media internship with Penn State’s Office of Strategic Communications.

“I’ll be teaching them just how to navigate social media and how it can be a good thing but also how they can kind of separate real news within that realm from fake news,” Powers said.

In addition to the traveling, Powers is looking forward to being able to give back to a country she has already visited. She’s also anticipates the teaching aspect, which is something she’s familiar with after serving as a writing tutor for Penn State Learning on campus.

“I’m really excited to spend a very significant amount of time in a different culture,” Powers said. “I think it will be a great experience before I come back here and shoot into the real world.”

The real world for Powers could mean a variety of things. She has considered taking the academic route or going straight into public relations. Her dream job would be working in social media with a nonprofit at a place like National Geographic or in higher education.

For now, though, she has her sights set on making a difference in the Czech Republic.

“I really am thankful for Penn State, the University Fellowships Office, and basically every opportunity I’ve had here is the reason that I got this,” Powers said.

Last Updated April 30, 2019