Hannah Petersen '22
Sociology major Hannah Petersen ’22 has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Bulgaria. Her experiences traveling internationally as a music outreach volunteer, plus Bulgarians’ passion for choral singing and folk dance, influenced her desire to immerse herself in a culture that honors artistic expression.
Why did you choose to apply for the Fulbright ETA in Bulgaria?

My interest in Bulgaria was sparked when I took a social justice and music class focused on non-Western choral music taught by [Assistant Professor of Music] Charlotte Botha. The Bulgarian passion for choral singing and folk dance really spoke to me due to my background in the performing arts, and I wanted the opportunity to immerse myself more fully in a culture that honors and prioritizes artistic expression. Fulbright ETAs to Bulgaria also have the chance to coach teams for the Bulgarian Fulbright Commission’s annual Speech and Debate Tournament, an activity that aligns with the work I did as a peer tutor in Hamilton’s Oral Communication Center.

What about teaching in another country appeals to you?

Prior to enrolling at Hamilton, I spent three-and-a-half years traveling nationally and internationally as a music outreach volunteer. As much as I loved performing and teaching students across myriad locations, I never had the chance to integrate fully into an educational environment or establish long-term relationships with local teachers, students, and community members. I’m really excited to invest my undivided energy into one school and community over the course of 10 months, especially because I know that truly effective teaching requires time, consistency, and trust.

Hannah Petersen ’22

Major: Sociology
Minors: Music and Theatre
Hometown: Wyomissing, Pa. 
High School: The King’s Academy
Most Activity: Music director for the Hamiltones a cappella group

How did Hamilton prepare or motivate you to embark on this path?

In addition to my Oral Communication Center work, my role as a teaching assistant in Hamilton’s Music Department granted me real experience in grading, personal mentorship, and lesson planning. Also, my sociology studies and research at Hamilton have largely centered around K-12 education, specifically the ways in which race, class, and gender influence student outcomes in the classroom and beyond. Embarking on this Fulbright ETA will allow me to understand and apply the largely theoretical knowledge I gained on the Hill in a real-world context, which I trust will create a firm foundation for my eventual goal of becoming a sociologist of education.

Anything you’d like to add?

I am immensely grateful to [Student Fellowships Coordinator] Ginny Dosch for her incredible mentorship and assistance throughout my Fulbright process. She’s truly one of the unsung heroes at Hamilton, working behind the scenes to build and expand opportunities for Hamilton students to pursue Fulbrights and other fellowships. Hamilton is really blessed to have her.

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