PHOTO: Brookdale Community College President Dr. Maureen Murphy (right) welcomes the college’s first Fulbright scholar, Mariana Grassi (left) of Brazil, as Raquel Rosa, adjunct instructor of Portuguese, looks on.
Lincroft, New Jersey — Brookdale Community College is hosting its first Fulbright Scholar, Mariana Grassi of Pelotas, Brazil, during the 2013-2014 academic year as part of the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program (FLTA). Grassi, a recent graduate of the Federal University of Pelotas, is providing tutoring and in-class support for students enrolled in Brookdale’s new Elementary Portuguese class.
“We’re excited about having Mariana be a part of the Language Department because of the opportunities it affords her as a scholar and us as educators,” said William Burns, dean of the college’s Arts and Communications Division.
Grassi earned a bachelor’s in education and literature, with a focus on English and Portuguese. She has taught languages in Brazil to children, teens and adults. She also has experience teaching disadvantaged students.
Besides offering academic support, she is teaching weekly lessons about Brazilian culture and is planning to start a Portuguese Club on the Lincroft campus. In order to learn about American culture, she is enrolled in two Brookdale classes, a French class and a conversional English class for non-native speakers.
“She is living and experiencing our culture and blending it with her own,” Burns said.
The FLTA Program is sponsored by the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). FLTAs are chosen from among academically strong applicants between 21 and 29 from over 45 countries throughout the world. The program provides scholars with an opportunity to learn American teaching methods and experience American life while at the same time gaining teaching experience and improving English skills.
Host institutions are selected through a competitive application process, said Janice Thomas, director of the Brookdale Community College International Center. “They must demonstrate a commitment to international educational exchange and willingness to mentor and support a young FLTA throughout the scholar’s stay in the United States,” she said.
Hosting a Brazilian FLTA is in keeping with Brookdale’s plan to nurture educational partnerships and is an outgrowth of Brookdale’s Brazil initiative begun in the Fall of 2011, Thomas noted.
In July, Brookdale signed a protocol of cooperation with Cameos Instituto da Cooperacao e da Lingua that opened the door for exchanges and partnerships with higher educational institutions in Portugal. Under the agreement, Camoes committed to helping Brookdale develop its Portuguese curriculum and Brookdale committed to promoting Portuguese language and culture though classes and programs related to Lusophone cultures.