Laurie Ware, a graduate of Western New Mexico University’s Elementary Education program, was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and traveled to Central Asia with three professors and 11 other secondary teachers from New Mexico and Arizona this summer.
Ware wrote an extended curriculum unit for an English Language Arts workshop that she brought back to the States and will implement in her New Mexico classroom.
“I will also be creating a module to expose my students to the Kazakh language,” she said.
In addition, Ware took close-up pictures of her students’ faces as well as portraits of students in the villages along the Silk Road.
“Some scholars believe that the Navajo people may originate from a mountain region in Mongolia and think that many native people in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan look similar to Navajo people,” Ware said.
Her goal is to have her students write narratives based on these comparisons.
Her superintendent recommended she apply for the experience in Central Asia. “The fact that I teach in a rural area was a factor in why I was chosen,” Ware said.
Ware and the other Fulbright Scholars participating in this experience collaborated with Nazarbayev University in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.
“To receive a Fulbright is an extremely selective process,” said Associate Professor of Education Dr. Margarita P. Wulftange. “This reflects well on Laurie’s training and education at Western New Mexico University’s School of Education — and on all her work as a teacher.”
Ware, who holds a Master of Teaching in Reading from WNMU, plans to start a Ph.D. in Education in Language and Literacy in the next couple of years. But first, she will complete her dossier to move from a Level II teacher in the state of New Mexico, to a Level III, during the coming school year.
“The experience as a Fulbright Scholar will immensely change me as a teacher,” she said.