Baylor Graduate Selected for Prestigious Fulbright ETA to SpainMay 22, 2017
Katerina Levinson will serve as an English Teaching Assistant during the 2017-2018 academic year
WACO, Texas (May 22, 2017) – Recent Baylor University graduate Katerina Levinson has been selected to receive a prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to Spain. Levinson was a University Scholar in Baylor’s Honors College and earned her B.A. magna cum laude earlier this month.
Levinson is Baylor’s fourth Fulbright recipient this year and 51st since 2001. A 2013 graduate of Regents School of Austin, she is the daughter of Barry and Katrina Levinson of Austin.
Fulbright ETAs are placed in classrooms abroad to provide assistance to local English teachers while also serving as cultural ambassadors for the United States. Beginning this fall, Levinson will serve as a Fulbright ETA in Asturias in the northern region of Spain.
She first became interested in applying for a Fulbright after studying abroad in Madrid, Spain, in fall 2015.
“I fell in love with Spanish art, literature and history while I was there, and even decided to write my thesis on the Spanish novel, ‘Don Quijote,’ after studying it in a class there. I always had the feeling in the back of mind that I would be back one day,” Levinson said. “When I heard from several friends by word-of-mouth about the Fulbright ETA, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to return to Spain. I decided to apply so that I could continue to be immersed in and learn more about Spanish culture and perfect my Spanish.
“I was also very excited about the supplemental project: I want to do a bilingual book club with my students to share my passion for literature with them by reading some of the most foundational texts from Spanish and American cultures,” she said.
Levinson’s future plans include gaining experience teaching at a classical school and later earning a Ph.D. before ultimately starting a classical school for underprivileged children, possibly in Latin America, she said.
While in high school as she began her college search, Levinson was searching for an institution that was equally serious about faith and academics.
“I saw that Baylor was one of the rare universities that seemed to uphold both,” she said.
She found that Baylor stands unique in its pursuits of scholastic excellence while holding firm to its Christian heritage, believing that both intellectual and spiritual pursuits are not only partners in the quest for truth, but essential to the growth and development of the whole person.
“I was particularly drawn to the Baylor Honors Program and Great Texts, where I was hoping to find mentors and peers who were earnest about the pursuit of truth," she said. "I know Baylor was the right choice because I am leaving with even more questions about how faith informs understanding than when I began as a freshman.”
Levinson praised several Baylor faculty members for welcoming her into their offices for encouragement, spiritual counsel, wisdom and direction for the future.
“Dr. Eric Holleyman, one of my most impactful mentors, helped give me an overall vision for my life; Dr. Ralph Wood and Dr. Barry Harvey taught me to pursue truth through literature; Dr. Mike Thomas helped me to become passionate about ‘Don Quijote’ and served as my honors thesis director; Dr. Paul Larson and Dr. Alex McNair encouraged me in my study of Spanish literature and the Spanish language; and Dr. Wesley Null showed me that teaching is one of the greatest vocations,” she said. “I also thank Dr. Lynne Hinojosa for her friendship and teaching me to love the great texts. I am also indebted to Dr. Aitor Bikandi-Mejias at the University of St. Louis in Madrid for supporting me in pursuing the Fulbright and for inspiring to study Spanish literature.”
“Katerina is the student who makes a mediocre teacher look good and a good teacher look great,” said Eric Holleyman, Ph.D., senior lecturer of religion in the College of Arts & Sciences. “She is exceptionally bright. She has a love for learning and wants to share transformational education with the marginalized people of the world. But what makes her exceptional is her deep and abiding humility.”
“I am so proud of Katerina,” said Lynne W. Hinojosa, Ph.D., associate professor in the Honors Program. “She is dedicated to learning and loves the processes of education. I am sure she will do wonderfully as a teacher in Spain during her Fulbright term. Katerina is just the type of Christian thinker that Baylor and the Honors College hope to enroll and help form and then send out into the world to serve.”
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program currently awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.
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Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.