Recent Fairfield University graduates selected for prestigious French government teaching assistantships


Kaitlyn Kelly and Stephanie Kraushaar, 2007 graduates of Fairfield University, were chosen for prestigious French Government Teaching Assistantships by the French Ministry of Education.

Kelly, of Monroe, Conn. and Kraushaar, of Newtown, Conn., will begin the assistantships in the fall.

The French Ministry of Education offers teaching assistant positions in French primary and secondary schools in all regions of France as well as in the overseas departments and regions. They enable recipients to immerse themselves in the French culture. They also gain valuable teaching skills, while furthering their study of the French language.

Kelly will teach English to high school students on the Caribbean island of Martinique, a French département-outre-mer, or overseas department of France. "(The assistantship) will be seven months long, and basically what I will be doing is assisting in English lessons to young people. I will be in the towns of Le Lorrain and Basse-Pointe, both on the northern tip of the island."

A double major in French and Italian, she first became interested in France while studying the French language in high school. She fell in love with the Italian language at Fairfield.

Kelly's background studying foreign languages at Fairfield laid a solid groundwork for her Teaching Assistantship. Taking part in Fairfield's study abroad program in Florence, Italy interested her in living abroad again.

She desired to complement her French studies by immersing herself in the French culture. With the encouragement of Marie-Agnès Sourieau, Ph.D., associate professor of Modern Languages and Literatures, Kelly applied for the assistantship.

Dr. Sourieau said that Kelly will undoubtedly gain practical teaching skills and an insight into the French school system. "I particularly encouraged Kaitlyn to apply for a teaching assistantship, because she is a gifted linguist. I am thrilled that she was offered this position, which is renewable."

Graduating from Fairfield in May was a family affair for Kelly. Her mother, Pam Kelly, who works for the University as an operations assistant in the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions (GSEAP), also received her bachelor's degree that day. After graduation, Kelly began working for The International Institute of Connecticut, Inc., located in Bridgeport. The non-profit social service agency helps people seeking to become Americans by offering professional services and counseling.

Kraushaar, who majored in French and politics, will be teaching in Nantes, located on the west coast of France. She will be working at two middle schools, helping children learn about American culture and the English language.

Kraushaar credits her Fairfield professors with feeding her interest to learn about other cultures and encouraging her to double major in a foreign language and politics. "Dr. Alan Katz, professor of politics, was an invaluable resource and an inspiration to me at Fairfield. So many great teachers instilled in me a desire to be a teacher. Dr. Sourieau encouraged me to learn firsthand about the French culture. I visited Paris once, but I have never lived in another country before. It will be something I will remember for the rest of my life."

Dr. Sourieau said, "Being a very strong major in French, I encouraged Stephanie to apply. She was a very dedicated and mature student, always informed about the socio-political and cultural landscape of France and the world. I remember her reading French daily papers on the Internet."

After completing the assistantship, Kraushaar plans to attend graduate school and possibly become a teacher.

Kelly and Kraushaar will receive stipends as part of their assistantships. The teaching requirement is 12 hours of English teaching per week, therefore they will have plenty of time to explore the country's culture, take classes at a university or purse additional work to further master the French language.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on August 2, 2007

Vol. 40, No. 10