Teacher gets Fulbright

Jeanne Sokolowski, an adjunct faculty member of the English Department at Rockford College, has been selected by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board to receive a scholarship to study the school system in Korea during the 2002-2003 academic year. The scholarship covers transportation expenses, a monthly stipend and housing.

“The on-campus Fulbright selection committee felt that Jeanne was an exceptionally strong applicant who presented a well-thought-out and interesting research project,” said Martha Pippitt, Ph.D., Rockford College Fulbright advisor and associate dean for international programs and faculty development. “We’re delighted that she has received the scholarship and will be representing Rockford College.”

The Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES), under a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of State, administers the Fulbright Scholar Program for faculty and professionals. Each year, about 800 United States citizens travel to 140 countries to lecture, do research or participate in seminars, and an equal number of foreign faculty come to this country. CIES is a division of the Institute of International Education. A spokeswoman said the Council was reaching out to adjunct faculty members. “We found they make very good grantees,” said Judy Pehrson, director of external relations for IEE.

Sokolowski filed her application in October after a review of her research proposal by a campus committee. Late last week, she received an acceptance letter from the presidentially appointed scholarship board indicating her acceptance by the Fulbright Commission in Korea, which reviews finalists who want to teach or do research in that country.

Originally from the Chicago suburb of Oak Lawn, Sokolowski earned her bachelor’s degree in English at Rockford College in 1995 summa cum laude and was elected to membership in the prestigious national honor society, Phi Beta Kappa. (Rockford College is one of only 262 institutions in the United States and 11 in Illinois qualified to offer membership in the honor society.)

Now a Rockford resident, she has completed all course work required for a Master of Arts in Teaching at Rockford College. The research data she gathers in Korea on interaction between students and teachers at secondary schools will be used for her thesis, an optional project to complete her degree. Sokolowski is also a graduate student in the Master of Arts in English program, focusing on American literature, at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill.

Conversant in spoken and written Japanese, Sokolowski was an English instructor at Kobe Jogakuin, Nishinomiya, Japan, for three years (1997-2000). There she coached a team of Japanese junior high-level students who won first place in a highly competitive national English speech and recitation contest. Returning to Rockford in the spring of 2000, she taught international students English for a year at the Internexus English Language Study Center on RC’s campus, while taking M.A.T. courses. She was hired by Rockford College to teach fundamentals of writing and literature and composition in August 2001.

Last summer, Sokolowski also began taking lessons in Korean. An avid tennis player who competed on the state level in high school and played and coached at Rockford College, Sokolowski is a member of the Rockford USTA Women’s 4.0 Tennis Team. She also volunteers for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and is a reader for Northern Illinois Radio Information Services. In addition, she volunteers at the Red Cross homeless shelter and trains puppies for Canine Companions for Independence.

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