Success Stories

Fulbright winner teaches abroad

Laura Kennedy

Unlike so many, Laura Kennedy has always loved math. The Grand Valley alumna earned a master’s degree in general education with advanced content specialization in mathematics. She said she plans to use her degree to eventually conduct research in mathematics education.

“I’d like to focus my research on the different methods of teaching math and how students learn,” said Kennedy. “There is a need for highly trained and motivated teachers. My goal is to teach future math teachers how to teach math.”

On her way to achieving that goal, Kennedy will travel abroad to teach. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in South Korea, beginning in July 2008. Kenney hopes to spend two or three years teaching abroad, before coming back to the states to work toward a doctorate in mathematics.

“It has been my dream to teach internationally ever since I studied abroad in Nairobi, Kenya,” she said. “My hometown, Greenwood, Wisconsin, is a very small town. I’ve arranged for my students in South Korea to be penpals with some students from my former high school.”

Kennedy feels prepared for what lies ahead. She spent a year working on academic enrichment programs in an after-school program at Congress Elementary in Grand Rapids Public Schools. She helped students play math games and problem solve to show them how the subject can be fun.

“So many students believe they are bad at math or can’t advance. They just need to be inspired to learn it,” she said.

by Dottie Barnes

This story was filed with the tags: Fulbright, Graduate Alumni, International, Scholarships