Washington and Lee University 2013 graduate Christine Luby, from Gresham, Oregon, has been awarded a U.S. Teaching Assistantship (USTA) fellowship in Austria for the 2013-2014 academic year.
A German language major, Luby became interested in travel, volunteering abroad and teaching English when she started working with the organization Josiah Venture in Kranj, Slovenia, during the summers of 2006 to 2011.
Luby volunteered and taught at the Billrothstrasse Bundesgymnasium, a type of high school, in Vienna, Austria, as part of an internship during her senior year with IES (International Education of Students) Abroad. "The USTA fellowship is the perfect opportunity to give back to a country that has been so welcoming and hospitable to me," Luby said.
"For decades this program has provided college graduates from the United States with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to work as secondary school teaching assistants in communities all over Austria," according to the USTA website.
"In addition to serving as valuable linguistic models in classroom English instruction, U.S. teaching assistants are also valuable resources for first-hand information about the 'American way of life' and informal representatives of the United States. In this capacity, they contribute substantially to the promotion of mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States of America and the Republic of Austria."
"This is a wonderful accomplishment," said Debra Prager, associate professor of German. "Christine has gone from learning how to say 'my name is Christine' on the first day of German class at W&L, to receiving this highly competitive fellowship to work in Austria.
"I know she will create relationships with her Austrian students that she and they will not forget. Christine knows that for some of her students she will be the first American they meet. That is a formidable responsibility, and she has the experience, maturity and passion to meet it."
For the year before she began at W&L, her "gap" year, Luby lived in Friedrichshafen, Germany, for seven months volunteering as a teaching assistant at a high school. She then finished out the year by living for four months in Carnforth, England.
During Spring Term of her junior year, Luby spent four weeks in intensive language and culture studies with a partner program at the University of Bonn, the Bonn and Beyond trip. She lived with host families and participated in cultural tours of the Rhineland and a special program to establish German-American relations with students in Nordrhein-Westfalen.
While at W&L, Luby was chosen to participate in the 2010 Sophomore Women's Leadership Conference. She tutored math, reading and writing at Waddell Elementary School in Lexington, Va.
She volunteered with Young Life Rockbridge County, Virginia, as a mentor for students at local middle schools and was a member of the college leadership staff at Trinity United Methodist Church in Lexington. She wrote for the online Rockbridge Report in journalism classes and had freelance pieces published in The Lexington News-Gazette.
During the summers from 2008 to 2012, Luby worked as assistant to the financial officer and development director and assistant to the comptroller at Portland, Oregon, Christian Schools. During winter, 2012, she was responsible for press releases and news pieces for the Portland Christian Schools that appeared in Portland area publications.
"Teaching in a school, learning from my Austrian colleagues and spending hours in the classsroom with students is a perfect way for a true exchange of cultures to take place," Luby said. "I'm so excited to start this next part of my life."