BLACKSBURG, Va., June 20, 2011 – Amanda Rohm Daquila, who earned her master’s degree in history from Virginia Tech, will spend the next academic year in Germany teaching English through the Fulbright U.S. Student Grant Program.
A Blacksburg resident, Daquila will work with students in the German state of Niedersachsen — Lower Saxony in English, from Sept. 5 through June 30. She already has taught German to middle school, high school, and Virginia Tech students. In addition, Daquila spent time in Freiburg, Germany, for her junior year while earning her bachelor’s degree in German and economics from the University of Pittsburgh.
Originally from Darlington, Pa., Daquila says she studied German because she believed having a foreign language fluency would be valuable for her then chosen career as an attorney. But her goals changed when she traveled to Guatemala during her undergraduate years.
“I had the opportunity to assist in an English class and after witnessing the impact education could have on a community, I decided to teach the subject I truly loved—German,” Daquila explained.
After she earned her teaching certificate in 2006, Daquila started her career in a rural southwest Virginia high school classroom.
“I was a young female armed with new teaching strategies and a Yankee accent. To say I met resistance would be an understatement,” she said. But enrollment in the German class grew and many of her students tested out of the first levels of German when they took their college placement exams.
Daquila says she plans to bring the same energy, organization, and persistence to teaching English to her German students. And says she wants to be an active member of the community where she’ll be teaching.
Those who know her, have no doubt that Daquila will be successful in this venture.
“Having worked with Amanda through the process of applying for the scholarship and witnessing her enthusiasm and poise, I’m confident she’ll make a great representative for the United States and Virginia Tech,” said Christina McIntyre, associate director of the University Honors Program.
The Virginia Tech Fulbright Committee found Daquila quite to be exactly the person they expected from reading her application essay. “This is an impressive yet humble woman,” wrote the committee members, who didn’t know her prior to the scholarship interview. “She easily engages in conversation and the interview was noticeably relaxed because of her maturity and sense of self. The committee can clearly envision her engaging with the community through her own hobbies like running and knitting.”
Daquila said that this is exactly what she plans to do. “I will use every occasion to acquaint myself with my students, my city, and the language — German, to which I have devoted half of my life.”
The U.S. Department of State sponsors the Fulbright Program, which is the largest U.S. international exchange program offering international graduate study, advanced research, and university, secondary and elementary school teaching worldwide. Congress established it in 1946 to enable the U.S. government to increase mutual understanding with people worldwide.
The late Arkansas Sen. J. William Fulbright, founder the program, made the goal clear when he said that “fostering leadership, learning, and empathy between cultures was and remains the purpose of the international scholarship program.”
These are Daquila’s goals during her time in Germany as a Fulbright scholar. She then plans to continue teaching at the secondary and post-secondary level after she returns to the United States.
Virginia Tech students and alumni interested in finding out more about the Fulbright program and how to apply should contact Christina McIntyre.