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UIndy senior headed to Latvia on Fulbright ETA

University of Indianapolis senior Erica White was awarded the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Latvia. She will spend the 2017-18 school year working in a Latvian educational institution.

White, a double major in English literary studies and creative writing with a concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), joins more than 100,000 Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumni who have worked abroad since 1948. 

Erica White, left, with Prof. Kyoko Amano at the English Department Awards Banquet (April 2017)
Erica White, left, with Prof. Kyoko Amano at the English Department Awards Banquet (April 2017)

“We’ll be sad to say goodbye to Erica when she graduates in May, but we know that she’ll be going on to good things as an ambassador of English and the University of Indianapolis,” said Karen Newman, assistant professor of English and one of White’s faculty advisors. Newman encouraged White to apply for the assistantship.

White said she is looking forward to making new international connections as she explores her interest in Baltic culture.

“I am very excited about this opportunity. I really want to connect with students and make a difference in their lives because English builds connections among people of different backgrounds,” White said.

White got her first taste of the teaching  experience in 2016 when she tutored students who were learning English as a new language at the Christel House Academy South.

“Without tutoring English learning students at Christel DeHaan, I wouldn’t have gained the confidence or skills necessary to feel secure in applying for my Fulbright assistantship,” White said.

She recommends tutoring for anyone considering a career in TESOL. “It helps you discover your strengths and where you can improve your skills, but it also helps these students build positive relationships with community members,” she said.

Faculty advisor Kevin McKelvey, associate professor of English, said White has “taken full advantage of numerous opportunities” during her time at the University of Indianapolis. White serves as president of the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honors Society Nu Xi (UIndy) Chapter. In August 2016, she attended a summer course on peacekeeping at Hiroshima City University in Japan. She collected many books for the Better World Books project and helped UIndy’s chapter make the top 25 in the nation for book collection in 2016.

White is grateful for the encouragement of her faculty advisors, who she said have prepared her for “an academic and professional future, shaped my character in some way by pushing me to submit to conferences, giving me solid feedback, giving me teaching opportunities, challenging my ideas and giving me creative freedom for projects.”

White is also an accomplished poet who has been published in Tributaries, a literary magazine published by Indiana University East, and Etchings, UIndy’s literary and fine arts magazine. She has received the Lucy Munro Brooker Poetry Award and won the annual UIndy Poetry Contest twice in a row. Her advisors describe her as a gifted artist who hopes to incorporate art into her future English teaching.

Written by Sara Galer, Senior Communications Specialist, University of Indianapolis. Contact with your campus news.