Ms. Jennifer Eliezer ‘09 receives Fulbright grant
October 10, 2019
Ms. Jennifer Eliezer ‘09 received a grant from the Fulbright United States Student Program, April 9, 2019, to work in Costa Rica as an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in January 2020. Ms. Eliezer currently serves as a Middle School Outreach Specialist with TriO Chelsea at Bunker Hill Community College, Boston Massachusetts. Ms. Eliezer attended Sacred Heart Greenwich from sixth to twelfth grade. While at Sacred Heart, Ms. Eliezer formed her dedication to service, education, and established her confidence, both in and out of the classroom.
After receiving her Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Boston University’s College of Communication in 2014, Ms. Eliezer earned her Master of Education from the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development at Boston University in 2018.
The Fulbright Program is a cultural exchange program that sends recent graduates and graduate students to over 140 countries for research, immersion, and teaching opportunities. Specifically, the English Teaching Assistant Program sends Fulbright winners to classrooms around the world to teach the English language to foreign learners. In-class assistants also serve as cultural ambassadors for the United States, according to fulbrightonline.org.
In Costa Rica, Ms. Eliezer will work as an ETA with the Instituto de Aprendizaje [Learning Institute] in San Carlos. She will use the method known as Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to help higher education students to learn the English language effectively. Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, a term given by American pedagogical theorist, Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings, is a method of teaching that helps students learn by relating course content to their cultural context and background. This teaching focuses on academic achievement, cultural competence, and sociopolitical consciousness, according to teachforamerica.org.
While in Costa Rica, Ms. Eliezer aims to learn as much as she can about teaching English to foreign students. She will be able to gain experience in the classroom, network, and build relationships with other educators.
“The last two years have been very challenging for me, but also littered with personal growth,” Ms. Eliezer said. “I think my time in Costa Rica will [give me] an opportunity to apply what I have learned about myself and how I show up in the world and to give my ‘new self’ a chance to shine.”
Ms. Eliezer credits the Sacred Heart community and education for establishing her faith and confidence as a woman. The support of teachers and classmates allowed her to feel comfortable with speaking out about her personal beliefs and opinions. When she attended Sacred Heart, she was a member of the diversity club and participated in the early broadcast journalism program, led by Ms. Ellyn Stewart, Broadcast Journalism Studio Director and Broadcast Journalism Teacher.
“This confidence was nurtured at Sacred Heart, and I carry it with me today,” Ms. Eliezer said. “As I think about it in hindsight, who I am as an educator today is largely due to who my teachers were at [Sacred Heart].”
In addition to her Sacred Heart teachers, Dr. Christine Leider, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Language Education and the Program Director of Bilingual Education at Boston University’s Wheelock College, advised Ms. Eliezer through her process. As her mentor, Dr. Leider was able to watch Ms. Eliezer grow as an educator and graduate student.
“She is a passionate educator, a fierce advocate, and a loving friend,” Dr. Leider said. “The Fulbright Program is incredibly lucky to work with such a wonderful, strong woman of color.”
Featured Image by Lé-Anne Johnson ’21