Danielle Mueller ’16, MAT ’17 was recently awarded a prestigious 2017-18 Fulbright U.S. Student Award that will take her to the Czech Republic to teach English while advancing her understanding of Czech language and culture.
“The opportunity to improve my Czech language skills excites me; understanding the Czech language is an integral aspect of establishing a meaningful relationship with the Czech culture,” says Mueller, who graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in sociology and English education and MAT in secondary English Language Arts. “I will be both a teacher and a student during my time in the Czech Republic. I can only hope that I can inspire my students the way teachers and professors of mine have inspired me.”
Known for its highly competitive field of applicants, the Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Earlier this year, Hobart and William Smith Colleges were named among the nation’s top colleges and universities with the most recipients of U.S. Fulbright Student Awards.
This spring, Mueller joins three other HWS students in receiving the honor. Sara DeVault-Feldman ’17 has been awarded an English Teaching Assistantship to Vietnam; Juliana Heffern ’17 was awarded a Fulbright to Malaysia; and Jordan Loretz ’17 will travel to Taiwan as an English Teaching Assistant.
Mueller developed a passion for Czech language and culture through the relationships and academic experiences she had while studying abroad in Prague as an HWS junior. Mueller credits her close friend and Czech language mentor, Štěpánka, for showing her what it means to be a teacher “across cultural boundaries” – a role Mueller hopes to take on as a Fulbright English teaching assistant.
While abroad, her courses, like “Kafka in Prague,” focused on Czech literature and language and further fostered Mueller’s passion. “Whether I am in the United States or abroad, the power of language and literature never ceases to inspire and excite me,” she says.
Mueller has had several teaching experiences throughout her time at HWS that she will draw on. She has worked as a teaching fellow for the Colleges’ Sociology Department, and as part of the Colleges’ MAT program, Mueller was a student teacher in a seventh-grade classroom. She also served as a leader development intern for Success Academies in New York City and an English Language Arts Substitute Teacher for the Geneva City School District.
On campus, Mueller is a member of the all-female a cappella group, Three Miles Lost, and an intramural soccer and volleyball team captain. Previously she was the co-president of Campus Peer Ministry, an America Reads Tutor and club soccer and lacrosse team member. Mueller hopes to continue similar activities while living in the Czech Republic.
“I hope to connect with both my students and community members outside of the classroom through shared passions and interests,” she says.