Percoski ’21, MAT ’22 Earns Fulbright to Germany – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Percoski ’21, MAT ’22 Earns Fulbright to Germany

HWS Master of Arts in Teaching candidate Katherine (Katie) Percoski ’21, MAT ’22 has been accepted into the U.S. Government’s flagship international exchange program. 

Katie Percoski ’21, MAT ’22 is the recipient of a 2022 U.S. Student Fulbright Award to Bremen, Germany where she will serve as an English Teaching Assistant. Her position will begin in the fall.

Percoski, who served as a German teaching assistant at HWS, says she applied to the program for two reasons. First, she’s passionate about building relationships and understanding differences.

“I have dedicated the past four years to learning to teach and teaching to learn,” says Percoski, who is in the Colleges’ Master of Arts in Teaching program. She graduated from HWS in 2021 magna cum laude with a double major in women’s studies and educational studies, a minor in German area studies, and received a Centennial Center Leadership certification. 

“I have always held the perspective that teaching is a bidirectional learning process. By this I mean, it is incredibly important to build relationships with every person you meet as this provides you with a new learning opportunity.”

The second reason Percoski says she applied was rooted in her passion for the German language and immersing herself culturally in the country. “Having an interest in the language dating back to sixth grade, I have pursued a variety of learning opportunities in the German language and culture. Through high school classes, college studies and a summer abroad program I have felt inspired and inquisitive about what I’ve learned and what I still don’t know about German language and culture,” she says. “Though I have very few familial ties to Germany, the glimpse of exposure to the language developed slowly into a depth of curiosity and interest about the changing culture and evolution of the German identity.”

She says engaging communities outside the classroom through youth advocacy and inclusivity programs will also be important experiences for her while in the country. 

“Participating in social justice and advocacy movements in the local German community will allow me to share my values and perspectives on global injustices while also contextualizing the specific struggles and movements of the community I would be placed in,” says Percoski.

Following her Fulbright experience, Percoski plans to begin her career as a special education teacher. “Ideally, I would be working in an inclusion classroom. I am interested in experiencing teaching in both rural communities and urban communities and immersing myself in the authentic diversity that the U.S. has to offer. My priority is to step out of my comfort zone and experience something new every day,” she says.

While at HWS, Percoski taught in classrooms in New York and New Zealand. During an internship, she worked in an early intervention program with a speech pathologist in Virginia.  On campus, she participated in the HWS Mindfulness club, worked in the HWS Peer Mentor Pilot program and for the Office of Sustainability. She also served as a junior board member on the Arc Ontario.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. Government’s flagship international exchange program, providing full research grants and English Teaching Assistantships awarded for graduate study, research or teaching opportunities in more than 140 countries.

HWS students interested in applying for Fulbright awards should contact the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education at cso@hws.edu.