Elon senior awarded Fulbright to teach English in Thailand

Christine Fortner, an elementary education major from Virginia, travels to Southeast Asia after graduation to help others learn English as part of a federal program that builds good will between the United States and people of other nations.

Elon University senior Christine Fortner
Elon University senior Christine Fortner[/caption]An Elon University senior majoring in elementary education will spend a year in Thailand after graduation with support from a 2015-2016 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship.

Christine Fortner of Charlottesville, Va., is currently student teaching a fifth grade class at Highland Elementary School in Burlington, N.C. Her award “facilitates cultural exchange through direct interaction on an individual basis in the classroom, field, home and in routine tasks,” according to the Fulbright website.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright was established in 1946 by Congress to “enable the government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”

“Winning the Fulbright award means being able to pursue my passions and interests in education overseas while experiencing a culture and people completely different than what I know,” Fortner said. “I am excited to be a cultural ambassador and to immerse myself in this upcoming adventure. This award will help me become a more culturally competent teacher and prepare me for the rest of my career.”

It won’t be Fortner’s first time living and teaching abroad. She taught English in Kenya the summer following her sophomore year in college. She had lived in Singapore for two years as an elementary school student, and she visited Thailand when she was six.

The Leadership Fellow was the senior director of Elon’s Center for Leadership and helped direct the university’s Leadership Fellows program. She served as a facilitator for the Adventures in Leadership and Discovery programs, as well as the Elon Challenge Course.

Since its establishment under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fortner is the daughter of Everette and Sally Fortner of Charlottesville, Va., and is a 2011 alumna of Western Albemarle High School in Crozet, Va.

Elon students and recent alums interested in this award or other nationally competitive fellowships are invited to visit the Office of National and International Fellowships in Lindner 200 or by calling (336) 278-5749.