Katherine Polster, who is pursuing a master’s degree in urban education at Rhodes College, is the recipient of a Fulbright U.S. Student Award for the 2021-2022 academic year. She will serve as an English Teaching Assistant in Taiwan beginning in the fall.
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. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for English teaching assistantships as well as for individually designed study/research projects. Recipients are chosen for their academic merit and intellectual potential.
“Being a Fulbright award recipient is a dream come true,” says Polster. “I love teaching and learning languages, and teaching abroad has been a dream that seemed out of reach. The Fulbright grants me the opportunity to grow as an educator, to learn from and adapt to a new culture, and to achieve fluency in Chinese.”
Polster, who is from Menomonee Falls, WI, earned a bachelor’s degree in Chinese studies with a minor in education from Rhodes in 2020. As an undergraduate, she was inducted into the international honor society in education Kappa Delta Pi and the gender and sexuality studies honor society Iota Iota Iota. Polster also served as president of the Board Game Club and vice president of the fencing club.
“I thank Dr. Han Li for fostering my curiosity of Chinese and Asian studies,” says Polster. “Before I began Chinese studies, I attended her weekly Teatime. She made me an honorary Chinese studies student, as I became enthralled with the language and culture. She encouraged me to study abroad in Tianjin, China, where I had the opportunity to visit an English Language classroom, and then I returned a year later to teach.
“I also thank Dr. Zachary Casey for encouraging me to pursue teaching abroad and for giving me the tools and foundation necessary to teach with critical pedagogy. I thank Dr. Alan Jaslow for helping me recognize my passion for teaching and for encouraging me to apply for the Fulbright.”
Upon completion of the Fulbright grant, Polster plans to teach English as a second language either in Milwaukee, Memphis, or abroad. “I hope to inspire students to be curious and find love in learning.”