July 07, 2011 12:00AM
Gregory Campbell, a recent Pittsburg State University graduate from St. Louis, Mo., will be teaching English this fall and also building bridges between his home and Turkey.
Campbell, who received a master's degree in music in May, is a recipient of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship through the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Fulbright Program, established in 1946, is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries.
"It is indeed a fantastic achievement and a great honor for Gregory to be chosen in this highly selective program," said Dr. Selim Giray, Campbell's adviser at PSU and himself a native of Turkey.
Giray said Campbell will teach at the Istanbul Technical University Centre for Advanced Studies in Music (MIAM).
Campbell said it was his relationship with Giray that first got him thinking about teaching in Turkey.
"My adviser and several of my colleagues are from Turkey and we have had in-depth conversations about the educational system, the political climate and the culture," Gregory wrote in his application. "After our frequent talks, I had a strong desire to go to Turkey."
As a graduate assistant at PSU, Campbell not only taught courses, but also mentored international undergraduate students and helped them with their English. He also volunteered with the orchestra program at Pittsburg High School.
"Gregory has an amazing gift to relate to any person, whether they have a similar or dissimilar background," Giray said. "He is always eager and excited to learn a new culture. I cannot imagine a better person to represent our country."
Campbell, who taught in the Kansas City (Mo.) School District before coming to PSU, said he is eager to take what he has learned about English education to classrooms in Turkey, but he added that the learning goes both ways.
"It is my hope that while I am teaching English in Turkey, that I can learn from my students as much as possible...I not only want to see what's different about Turkish students, but I also want to draw parallels with American students."
While in Turkey, Campbell also hopes to travel and to learn more about Turkish music and culture.
"I believe that not one second of the time I spend in Turkey should be wasted," he said.
Campbell said he expects his Fulbright experience in Turkey to make him a better teacher when he returns to the U.S.
"I plan to take my experiences from Turkey back to the U.S. classrooms," Campbell said. "I believe that this experience and experiences like these help me to creatively and effectively educate American children."
Campbell is the first PSU student to win a Fulbright award since 2000. Competition for 2012-13 awards is now open. The application deadline at PSU is Sept. 15. For additional information about the program, interested persons may contact the PSU Office of International Programs and Services at 620-235-4680.