W&L’s Abby Keller ’20 Awarded U.S. Teaching Assistantship in Austria Keller has received a USTA position with Fulbright Austria starting in October 2020.
For some of her students, Abby will be the first American they meet. I know she will not only be a tremendous asset to the teachers with whom she works, but she will also have an enduring, positive impact on her students and the way they think about the United States.
~ Debra Prager, associate professor of German
Abby Keller ’20 of Sparta, New Jersey, has been selected for the U.S. Teaching Assistantship (USTA) Program with Fulbright Austria starting in October 2020. Keller is a double major in economics and German.
Since 1962, Fulbright Austria has partnered with the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) to bring qualified, motivated university graduates from the United States to teach English in Austrian secondary schools.
As part of the nine-month assistantship, Keller will be teaching in two secondary schools in Fürstenfeld, a small town located in southeastern Austria. There she will help Austrian students develop their linguistic abilities and expose them to different aspects of American culture, helping promote mutual understanding between the U.S. and Austria for future generations.
“It is a huge honor to have been awarded this opportunity, and it would not have been possible without my advisors and professors at W&L,” said Keller. “Specifically, I would like to thank the German department faculty. Since my freshman year, my German professors helped me develop my language skills and instilled in me the confidence to pursue this opportunity.”
“This is a wonderful accomplishment,” said Debra Prager, associate professor of German. “In three-and-a-half years, Abby has gone from learning how to say ‘my name is Abby’ in beginning-level German to receiving this highly competitive fellowship to teach in Austria. She was always serious about learning German and becoming more culturally fluent, but it was during her Spring Term course in Graz, Austria, that she set her sights on the USTA program. She developed a close relationship with her host family there and took advantage of every opportunity not just to improve her speaking skills, but to explore Austrian culture and history.”
“Abby is a perfect fit for this position,” continued Prager. “She has prepared well for it; she is intellectually and culturally curious, full of energy, hardworking and open-minded. For some of her students, Abby will be the first American they meet. I know she will not only be a tremendous asset to the teachers with whom she works, but she will also have an enduring, positive impact on her students and the way they think about the United States.”
“Abby was a leader in and out of the classroom. She engaged readily with other students in critical thinking and in meaningful conversations.” said Linda Hooks, another of Keller’s advisors. “As an economics major, Abby helped establish a networking group that had an impact on many other students who were studying economics. She sought out opportunities to take classroom material into the real world, and she exemplifies the high standards we expect in W&L students. I’m confident she will do great things with this new opportunity.”
After completing her USTA program, Keller plans to attend graduate school for a master’s in business administration and then work for an international corporation where she will be able to apply her language skills and cultural knowledge.