Anthropology and sociology major Autumn Goodrum-Davis ‘20 has been named a Fulbright ETA finalist for Brazil. ETA programs place Fulbrighters in classrooms abroad to provide assistance to the local English teachers. ETAs help teach the English language while serving as cultural ambassadors for the U.S.

Goodrum-Davis notes:

“I have seen the power of language to unite people and connect them through large and small scale interactions. For me, being an ETA would be a means of giving back to the U.S. and Brazil. Communities in both countries have embraced me and shown me the power of language, culture, and education.”

She adds:

“During my time working as a camp counselor at my local Jewish Community Center in Chicago, I served as a translator and mediator for young children speaking Portuguese and Chinese. I taught them words in English and translated for them in moments when they felt uncomfortable interacting with our group.

“While studying abroad at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, I took note of my professors’ strong mentoring relationships with students, including helping them feel comfortable expressing their academic insecurities. This transparency helped the professors individualize their approaches so as to address students’ weak points and nurture their strengths.

“Since my first year of college, I have worked as a Portuguese TA and Tutor, and I have built a strong rapport with students so that they aren’t afraid to ask questions or come to see me during tutoring hours.

“In the past, I feared practicing Portuguese because I did not want to mispronounce words or be labeled by my mistakes. Due to the realization that I have an accent and make mistakes even in my native tongue, I taught myself to place value in the way I speak. It told a story of where I am from, where I had been, and most importantly, that I was making the effort to learn the language. I believe the same emphasis would strengthen students’ confidence to engage with English.”

April 28, 2020