MACON – Mercer University Class of 2020 graduates Sarah Harris and Brenna McNulty were recently accepted into the Teaching Assistantship Program in France (TAPIF) and will teach English in French schools for seven months during the 2020-2021 academic year.
A joint initiative of the French Ministry of Education, the Centre international d’études pédagogiques and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, the program’s goal is to strengthen English language instruction in French schools by establishing a native speaker presence while also providing American Francophiles with excellent teaching experience and firsthand knowledge of French language and culture.
Harris, from Austell, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in May with a double-major in French and international affairs and a minor in global development. She plans to pursue a career as a language educator teaching French or teaching English in a French-speaking country.
“I am so excited about this incredible opportunity to go to France and do what I love,” said Harris, who will teach secondary English in the region of Bretagne. “Teaching is my passion, and I am thrilled to have the chance to share my love of language while helping others improve their language skills. Being an assistant teacher with TAPIF is an important step in my lifelong career of learning, teaching and growing. I’m very grateful for my professors at Mercer who helped prepare me for this opportunity.”
At Mercer, Harris participated in Model Arab League, African Student Association, Bears Engaging Across Religions, Operation Lighthouse and the SOUL Project. She served as a French tutor at the Academic Resource Center and a teaching assistant in beginning French courses. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and received the L.P. Irvin award.
“Sarah was a phenomenal student and French tutor. Her genuine enthusiasm for learning and teaching language and culture will shine in the classrooms in France,” said Dr. Katherine Roseau, assistant professor of French. “Sarah spent a semester in Guinea, as well as some time in France. She already speaks French exceptionally well, and I look forward to seeing what she will learn from this new immersion. Dr. Anna Weaver and I both participated in TAPIF, and it was a great way to discover the education system in France and to make lasting French friends.”
McNulty, from Powder Springs, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in December with a double-major in French and theatre and a minor in English. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in library science and become a librarian.
“I learned about TAPIF during my freshman year at Mercer, and I have wanted to do it ever since,” said McNulty, who will teach secondary English in the city of Lille. “Everything I have done during my time at Mercer has given me the experience and knowledge to confidently move to a foreign country and assist English teachers. I look forward to bettering my French skills and widening my worldview while helping students better their language skills.”
At Mercer, McNulty participated in the Mercer Players and was a member of Phi Eta Sigma, Alpha Psi Omega and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies. She studied abroad in Angers, France, interned at Théâtre du Rêve and the Alliance Française in Atlanta and worked at Middle Georgia Regional Library.
“Like Sarah, Brenna was an excellent student who made exceptional progress while at Mercer. Interested in French language, literature and culture and dedicated to her studies, she was a joy to teach,” said Dr. Weaver, associate professor of French. “Determined to do what she loves and extraordinarily independent, Brenna sought out opportunities that allowed her to combine her academic interests, French and theater. Having already lived and worked in two cultures and languages, Brenna will surely be able to inspire her students to do the same. Dr. Roseau and I have every confidence that Brenna and Sarah will make great cultural ambassadors and teach their students to Be the Bear, or Soyez l’ours. ”
TAPIF allows more than 1,500 American citizens and permanent residents to teach each year in public schools across all of metropolitan France as well as in overseas regions such as Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion.
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Mercer University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences serves as the academic cornerstone of one of America’s oldest and most distinctive institutions of higher learning. The oldest and largest of Mercer’s 12 schools and colleges, it is a diverse and vibrant community, enrolling more than 1,900 students, dedicated to learning and service through the practice of intellectual curiosity, respectful dialog and responsible citizenry. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers majors in more than 30 areas of study, including more than a dozen pre-professional academic tracks, with classes taught by an outstanding faculty of scholars. In 2015, Mercer was awarded a chapter of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society that recognizes exceptional achievement in the arts and sciences. For more information, visit liberalarts.mercer.edu.