I was born and raised in outside Washington D.C. I started studying French in middle school and always felt at a special connection with the language. As a student at Beloit College, I spent a semester abroad in Brittany in college. I also spent my junior year field term working in a hospital in Houston, Texas. I had returned to college my senior year to begin pre-med courses when I got a phone call from a Swedish family asking me to tutor their daughter in French. That evening I decided that teaching French was really what I wanted to do, and the rest of my education began to fall into place.
I earned an MA and PhD from UNC-Chapel Hill in Comparative Literature where I taught French and Great Books. I spent my final year as a grad student as the assistant the UNC Study Abroad program in Montpellier, France. I taught English and American civilization at the Université Paul Valéry and my husband enjoyed a year’s leave without pay from his job as a hydrologist for the USGS. I spent the next decade raising two children and writing my dissertation. As both projects reached appropriate stages of completion, I returned to the classroom, first as a K-5 French specialist at the Raleigh School and then at NC State. One day, at a faculty meeting, the question was asked: “Who wants to go to Lille next summer?” I raised my hand and the rest is history.
- My Program
- Advice for Students
- Advice for Faculty Directors
Where do you lead a program?
Paris and Lille, France
How long have you run your study abroad program?
I joined the program in 2004. The program began in 1998, I believe.
What makes your study abroad program unique?
Our destination. France is a remarkable country, geographically and culturally. Our program is a perfect blend of tourism and study. We spend the first week in Paris, seeing the sights and getting adjusted to a new culture and to each other. Then we move to a smaller city and spend 4 weeks in intensive learning and having a serious amount of fun.
What stands out as your favorite memory from the study abroad programs that you have directed?
My favorite part of the trip is the bike tour of Paris we take on Day 2. It’s the best possible way to be introduced to the city and the students just love it.
If you could give prospective students one piece of advice about
study abroad, what would it be?
“All significant discoveries are made on foot.” ~ Richard Powers, The Gold Bug Variation
What are you looking for from the students who apply to your program?
Curiosity, commitment, and an open mind
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a Faculty Director?
The joy of taking young adults to Europe, often for the first time, and watching them discover a new culture and also discover themselves.
If you could give new Faculty Directors of study abroad programs one piece of advice about leading a program, what would it be?
Cultivate good resources in the US and abroad and ask them questions. Get the help you need.
What marketing tips would you suggest to your fellow Faculty Directors to encourage more NC State students to study abroad?
Word of mouth is your most powerful marking tool. We make a film every summer with the students, which is not only a lot of fun and a great souvenir, but helps me to promote the program in the fall after it is edited.