Boutselis ’19: “Immersive Language Learning Resonated With Me”
After a semester in Madrid last year through Hamilton’s Academic Year in Spain, Sabrina Boutselis ’19 fell in love with Spanish culture and became fascinated with the growing emphasis on Spanish-English bilingual education. As a result, she applied for and was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Galicia, Spain.
A dean’s list literature major from West Newbury, Mass., Boutselis is a Writing Center tutor and a student docent at the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art. She was also a volunteer Spanish teacher at Clinton Elementary School for two years.
Boutselis said that during the semester in Spain, she was a caretaker for three trilingual children whose parents — like many other families in Madrid — were seeking a native English speaker to care for their children while providing English conversation practice.
Hometown: West Newbury, Mass.
High school: Andover Public Schools
“This emphasis on immersive language learning resonated with me, as my early start to studying the Spanish language has opened doors to exciting opportunities for me, including the language and cultural immersion semester of study I spent in Madrid, and now, the Fulbright year I will spend in Galicia,” Boutselis said.
“I hope to foster cross-cultural understanding and discourse through my work as an English Teaching Assistant and through my proposed project. (I’ll be) drawing upon my knowledge from Cinema Studies, Literature, and Hispanic Studies courses to create a bilingual film-watching club or book club at my placement school with an emphasis on exploring Hispanic cultures across Spain, Latin America, and the United States,” she said.
In 2018 Boutselis was a teaching fellow and 9th grade team leader for Breakthrough New York (BTNY), a rigorous 5-week academic-intensive college access program for high-potential, low-income middle school students. She subsequently received the Susan Blum Teaching Excellence Award, given to a Teaching Fellow at each of the three BTNY middle school sites who demonstrated the most excellence in teaching or growth as an educator during the summer session.
In 2017, as a Levitt Summer Research Fellow, Boutselis researched social class differences in childcare across three locations in New York.
After her Fulbright year Boutselis plans to pursue a career in education, teaching middle school ELA through a teaching residency or fellowship program in the U.S. Teaching residencies typically place aspiring educators in urban public schools, where teaching fellows work as assistant teachers, gradually taking on greater responsibilities in the classroom while simultaneously pursuing a MAT.