Cara Morgenson will use her Fulbright teaching in Poland

Released on 04/30/2012, at 12:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Lincoln, Neb., April 30th, 2012 —
Cara Morgenson
Cara Morgenson

Post-graduate Cara Morgenson works

for Lincoln Public Schools as a mentor for highly gifted students, and at the McPhee Community Learning Center as an after-school club teacher. Next year she will be facing a different type of teaching job. Morgenson, of Omaha, will be leaving in the fall to teach English in Poland for a year, thanks to her new Fulbright scholarship.

Before graduating in August 2011 with degrees in English and psychology and a minor in women’s and gender studies, Morgenson spent her senior year working in the UCARE program as an intern and editorial assistant for Prairie Schooner with faculty sponsor James Engelhardt. She also worked as a teaching assistant for an 189H Honors Seminar, "Great Love Stories," with English professor and Honors Program associate director Karon Lyons.

"Dr. Lyons has been a wonderful mentor these past few years," Morgenson said. "Working with her in 'Great Love Stories' really showed me how much I love to be in the classroom, both as a student and a teacher.

Morgenson also worked as a consultant at UNL's writing center while she was a student, and got to know Frankie Condon, an English professor and faculty supervisor for the Writing Center. Condon said Morgenson is extraordinarily bright both in and outside of the classroom.

“She is endlessly curious, always deeply engaged and invested in her studies, and cares deeply about the success of her classmates,” Condon said.

Morgenson's trip to Poland will be the second time she has gone abroad for academics. Last spring, she traveled to England and Paris for an Honors Program trip. On this trip, “King Arthur’s England/Paris,” students visited historical places and archeological sites connected to the origins and development of the legend of King Arthur. Besides expanding on an already existing passion for historical and literary retellings of legends and folklore, Morgenson said the experience also gave her the encouragement she needed to seek further opportunities abroad.

After graduation, Morgenson volunteered work at Voices of Hope, an organization that provides crisis intervention, advocacy, and prevention services to the victims and families of domestic violence, sexual assault and incest. Her work volunteering on the Crisis Line and assisting with a women’s writing group were a partial inspiration for the side project she’ll complete while in Poland.

In addition to assistant-teaching English courses at a Polish university, Morgenson also hopes to organize a series of multigenerational women’s groups, resulting in a record of the stories and personal histories of Polish women. She also hopes the interviews will help draw a connection between the ideas of gender in Polish and American culture.

“As a still-developing nation, Poland has experienced significant political, social and economic changes even into the past few decades, something we are, for the most part, personally unfamiliar with as Americans,” she said.“I very much respect the women who have lived through these changes, and I think that a group of women engaged in conversation about their lives and histories is always a very powerful experience.”

After her year in Poland, Morgenson will return to school to complete her secondary teaching certification, English as a Second Language endorsement, and master’s degree in education. With these qualifications, she hopes to work as an ESL instructor or reading specialist.

“Cara deserves the opportunity and she is a scholar who will exemplify the Fulbright tradition,” said Condon.

The Fulbright Program, established in 1946 and funded by the U.S. Department of State, is designed to foster understanding between the United States and other countries. The U.S. Student Fulbright program gives recent graduates, graduate students and young professionals the opportunity to conduct research, study or teach in one of the 155 countries that the program operates. The Fulbright program is the flagship international education program sponsored by the U.S. government. About 8,000 grants are awarded annually, and about 1,600 of those grants are awarded toU.S. students. Morgenson is the eighth Fulbright student announced at UNL this spring.

— Haley Whisennand, Honors Program

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