The Columns

Emma Axt ’08 Awarded Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to France

— by on May 9th, 2008

Washington and Lee University senior Romance languages/journalism and mass communications major Emma Axt ’08, of Edina, Minn., has recently been awarded the distinguished Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to teach English in France.

The Fulbright teaching assistantship program places students in a host country to teach English and complete a research project. The host country provides the student with international travel expenses, a living stipend and in some cases, tuition assistance. “In June, I will have more details about my specific assignment, but I think it will be at the primary school level,” said Axt.

Her advisors, Ed Craun, professor of English and George Bent, professor of art, were a great resource during the application process. “Emma Axt worked extremely hard to get her Fulbright application just right,” said Bent. “She frequently consulted with faculty to get as much information from them as possible, and then used that information wisely to shape a proposal that was both innovative and feasible.”

Axt’s project proposal dealt with researching the use of literature in primary and secondary schools. “I am attempting to discover how French schools use literature to teach children about other cultures and history,” explained Axt.

“The Romance language department was extremely supportive and helpful during the application process,” said Axt. Francoise Fregnac-Clave, professor of Romance languages, added, “Emma has all the qualities the Fulbright program looks for in its ambassadors–bright, eager to learn, passionate about literature and culture, her own and others, proud of her upbringing and ready to share her knowledge and ‘coups de cœur’ with all that will listen!”

The praise and encouragement doesn’t stop there. “She has been my student in most of my advanced French literature classes and she even took an Italian class with me,” said Domnica Radulescu, professor of Romance languages. “I’ve always been impressed by her unusual intellectual maturity and by the fact that she knows more about French literature, culture and European literature and culture in general, than most students I’ve had at W&L. She fully deserves this honor and as someone who has taught and mentored her for four years, I’m thrilled and proud of her.”

Axt is a member of the University Chamber Singers, and has acted as tour manager for the past two years. She is involved with the Literacy campaign as a volunteer at Mountain View Elementary and this year worked as a docent at the Stonewall Jackson House.

In the future, Axt hopes to attend graduate school to study foreign literature and linguistics. “I also have an interest in children’s publishing, and I hope to explore that area while abroad,” said Axt. “I am so excited to share my experiences with young people. This opportunity is a dream come true.”