Led by the United States government in partnership with more than 160 countries worldwide, the Fulbright Program offers international educational and cultural exchange programs for passionate and accomplished students to study, teach, or pursue meaningful research and professional projects. Brookdale ‘18 Graduate Victoria M. Cattelona, currently a graduate student in the accelerated Master of Arts in Teaching program and graduate assistant to the Institute of Global Understanding (IGU) at Monmouth University, has been awarded a 2021-2022 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in the Czech Republic from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

“I wanted to share this news with Dr. Stout and Brookdale because I love Brookdale,” Cattelona said. “Dr. Stout was incredibly supportive when I was a student there and when I was on the Board of Trustees along with then Board Chair, Tracey Abby-White. I felt like I was part of a Brookdale family, and they were the head of the family with me. I really enjoyed that time when they mentored me while I was on the Board.”

“I would never have considered a career in education without my studies and work for the College,” said Cattelona, who holds an associate in arts degree in political science from Brookdale Community College. She served on the College’s Board of Trustees between 2018 and 2019 and represented postsecondary students at national and international conferences. While on the Board at Brookdale, her main project was working on the enrollment report and how the College can more effectively communicate with high schools in the county. At that same time, she started substitute teaching. She was able to talk with students and find out what the environment and attitude were toward community colleges in the high schools at that time, which she incorporated into the report.

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected in an open, merit-based competition that considers leadership potential, academic achievement, and service records. Cattelona was encouraged to apply for an English Teaching Assistantship in July 2020 by Professor Randall Abate, director of the IGU at Monmouth University. “I reasoned that being able to put myself in the shoes of a secondary student learning a foreign language would be invaluable in informing my instructional practice,” she explained.

Cattelona will seek to immerse herself in the local and national history and culture. “The Czech Republic has a rich narrative that I plan to highlight in the courses that I will teach when I return to the United States. I am especially interested in highlighting the Czech Republic with my students because the lands and peoples that constitute the country are crucial to our learning of world history,” she said.

As an honors political science major at Brookdale, she participated in the Democracy Conversation Project. Political Science Professor Jonathan Moschberger moderates the panel. He is one of her role models because of his strong interest in civic education and because she liked the way he incorporated current events when teaching history and always tried to have students engage. English Professor Roseanne Alverez is another professor with exemplary abilities she hopes to incorporate into her future teaching. Cattelona said, “I loved the issues she presented in women’s studies class, and I would like to be able to have students debate topics the way that we did in that class. She has this ability to expose students to completely new thoughts and ideas.”

Cattelona will earn secondary level certification with a social studies specialization in May 2021, followed by an English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement in the summer. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in history from Monmouth in May 2020. As a graduate of Monmouth’s Honors School, she completed a thesis on civic education’s role in promoting youth voter turnout, conducting a quantitative analysis of data from the 2016 presidential and 2018 midterm elections under the guidance of her first thesis reader Associate Professor Joseph Patten and second thesis reader Assistant Professor Stephen Chapman.

Through the Fulbright program, Cattelona will teach English and share knowledge and foster meaningful connections across communities in the United States and the Czech Republic. Congratulations, Victoria, on receiving this prestigious award and serving as a cultural ambassador for the United States.