BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State University alumna Johnna Reisner ’15 ’17, a Charlotte native, has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award by the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission to teach practical and specialized English language classes at a higher education or other academic institution in Poland for the 2018–19 academic year.
“I am thrilled to teach English in Poland, and I am honored to receive this award. I have gotten this far because of the amazing community of friends, mentors and colleagues I have supporting me. It may only be me going to Poland, but I carry this community with me in everything I do,” Reisner said. “The Fulbright award is a tall challenge for me, but I think I have been prepared to take it on.”
Reisner earned both her B.A. in English, secondary education (2015) and her M.A. in English with a concentration in college teaching (2017) from Appalachian. In spring 2018, Reisner taught freshman seminar and a writing course at Watauga Residential College at Appalachian as well as a writing course at Wilkes Community College, and worked as an assistant communications specialist for the university’s College of Arts and Sciences.
“I have been continually impressed by Johnna’s passion for teaching. For her, the big questions are felt in an embodied way; they are not just cognitive puzzles. She is not afraid to be challenged by the paradoxes of teaching, a characteristic many teachers never achieve. It is a valuable insight for any teacher. Johnna has embraced it,” said Dr. Elaine O’Quinn, professor in the university’s Department of English.
Through a competitive application process, open to students and alumni of U.S. higher education institutions, Reisner applied for an English Teaching Award (ETA); only 10 such awards are granted each year to teach in Poland. The program looks for applicants who model service, leadership and excellence inside and outside the classroom. As a Fulbright recipient and a representative of the United States, Reisner will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with international partners in educational, political, cultural, economic and scientific fields.
“Johnna is the kind of student that every professor dreams of having in class. She unfailingly makes insightful contributions to discussions, and even more importantly, her enthusiasm for learning and her gregarious personality act as constant leavening agents in the classroom,” said Dr. Zackary Vernon, assistant professor in Appalachian’s Department of English.
“Her participation emboldens other, more reluctant students to participate. As a teacher in Poland, I’m confident that Johnna will carry this infectious energy into her classes and inspire her students to perform at the highest level,” he said.
Reisner’s position will combine teaching and independent study or research. In addition to classroom responsibilities, she may be requested to lead programs in language labs, conduct English conversation clubs, tutor, participate in sports, language or drama clubs, and volunteer at local organizations.
“A professor described this opportunity as an episode of formation, and truly this experience will be just that. I am both excited and nervous about this opportunity, and I know it will challenge me in ways that will continue to push me to think deeply about my professional and personal self,” Reisner said.
The Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Since its inception in 1946, more than 380,000 Fulbright award winners have participated in the program.
For more information about how to apply for Fulbright student awards, visit Appalachian’s Nationally Competitive Scholarships.
For information about how to apply for faculty and staff Fulbright awards, as well as more information regarding international scholarship assistance, visit the university’s Office of International Education and Development (OIED).
About Nationally Competitive Scholarships
Nationally Competitive Scholarships (NCS) works with the Appalachian community to recruit and support students for nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships, including those that support research, teaching and critical language learning. This is achieved with outreach, mentorship and advising throughout the entire application and selection process. NCS is committed to helping undergraduate and graduate students find ways to connect their Appalachian education to their future endeavors through scholarship opportunities. Learn more at https://ncs.appstate.edu.
About the Office of International Education and Development
The OIED is responsible for spearheading the internationalization efforts at Appalachian. The internationalization mission of Appalachian is to develop awareness, knowledge, appreciation and respect of cultural differences in both domestic and international contexts in its students, faculty, staff and the surrounding communities. The university is also dedicated to creating a campus environment that builds the theoretical and practical skills needed to interact effectively in a global society. Learn more at https://international.appstate.edu.
About the Department of English
The Department of English at Appalachian State University is committed to outstanding work in the classroom, the support and mentorship of students, and a dynamic engagement with culture, history, language, theory and literature. The department offers master’s degrees in English and rhetoric and composition, as well as undergraduate degrees in literary studies, film studies, creative writing, professional writing and English education. Learn more at https://english.appstate.edu.
About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, two stand-alone academic programs, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. Our values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of our students as global citizens. There are approximately 5,850 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at https://cas.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.