An Interdisciplinary Approach to Education – Katelyn Smith

A love of learning about other cultures prompted Katelyn Smith, ’16, who majored in Spanish and international studies, to apply for the Fulbright Program.

Her successful application to the prestigious program means Katelyn will spend nine months in Mexico in an English teaching assistantship. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

The opportunity to be part of a cultural exchange while gaining classroom teaching experience drew Katelyn to the Fulbright program.

“I chose the Fulbright because of its mission to form bonds of peace and understanding between countries through cultural exchange,” she said.

Once she returns, Katelyn will begin a master’s program at NC State University, working toward her goal of becoming a Spanish professor. She knows her Fulbright experience will make her an even stronger educator.

“I’m looking forward to the cultural exchange and also gaining experience in a classroom in another country so I can really have a diverse lesson plan portfolio when I come back and be able to connect with different students.”

Katelyn credits her interdisciplinary education at Meredith, including two study abroad experiences in Costa Rica and Mexico, with preparing her for her future.

“At Meredith, professors not only push you to do well, but to really be able to articulate your ideas, and to think about where your previous ideas came from,” Katelyn said. “It’s helped me be more globally conscious and culturally aware.”

Her Fulbright program doesn’t begin until fall, but Katelyn isn’t taking a break. She will spend the summer as a program assistant for Student Action with Farmworkers, a Durham-based non-profit where she has interned since 2014.

Her internships, study abroad, undergraduate research, and coursework have combined to create a life-changing education.

“Meredith has really strengthened me, and given me all the tools I need to succeed in life.”