Growing up in a culturally diverse household, Lucie Mendelson ’17 spoke French with her mother, who was raised Catholic in rural France, and English with her Jewish-American father. That global fluency will serve Mendelson well when she travels to Mozambique this year to teach with the Peace Corps.
“Being globally knowledgeable was embedded in my upbringing, which greatly influenced my decision to apply for the Peace Corps,” says Mendelson, a double major in sociology and educational studies with a concentration in global education.
Although Mendelson doesn’t have all the details on her placement yet, she knows she will be going to a rural area of Mozambique, a coastal country in southeast Africa. She will teach high school English through an initiative called Let Girls Learn, which helps young women attain a quality education. “The Let Girls Learn initiative was one of the reasons I was so interested in serving in Mozambique,” she says.
Mendelson already has experience as a student teacher, both in the Geneva City School District and during a study abroad experience in Aukland, New Zealand. “Her level of personal investment in students was impressive,” says Professor of Education James MaKinster, Mendelson’s adviser, who led the trip to New Zealand. “She seemed to see every interaction as an opportunity to help students learn or become a better person.”
MaKinster believes that Mendelson will excel. “Lucie’s thinking reflects the fact that she grew up and went to school in such diverse communities, which provided her with a certain amount of wisdom about the world and herself,” he says. “She values diversity in all forms — ethnically, culturally, socially — so I feel that students with different backgrounds and identities would be very comfortable coming to her both individually and collectively.”
In addition to student teaching, Mendelson has been involved as a volunteer with the America Reads Program, where she is a coordinator and tutor working with literacy issues, and the HWS First Generation Initiative, where she is a senior board member, helping to plan and organize events for first-generation college students.
“Throughout my experiences teaching, I’ve done everything I could to be inclusive of all my students. Because of my personal experiences, and my experiences within the Teacher Education Program, I’m sure that I am well prepared to teach a different and diverse group of students in Mozambique.”