That Girl: Katy Andell

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March 30, 2010

2:55 AM

_I met Katy Andell on the back porch of the Grind so she could get her quick fix of caffeine and sunshine. Self-assured and down to earth, she told me about her love of the Sharpe Community Scholars Program and of tutoring English as a second language. Before our interview, Katy had just recently discovered that she’s been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Germany for next year. If her continued dedication to her own studies is any indication — she brought homework for before and after the interview — she will certainly do well teaching abroad and researching education and immigration policy._

*What are you looking forward to this week?*

I really take it day by day. Since I’m a senior, I really try to find as much time to spend with my friends as possible. There’s a new movie coming out at the Kimball [Theatre], so we’ll probably go see that sometime soon. I’m finishing my thesis this week, and that’s something I’ve been working on most of the year. I will also probably go to the Scott Foster night at the [Greene] Leafe [Café].

*Tell me about your thesis.*

I’m a government and European studies double major, so I’m writing a thesis on the integration of immigrants through the German education system. And that’s really interesting. I focus on language, structure, why immigrants don’t get integrated into German society, and why the education system is partially to blame for that. I actually went to Germany two years ago — visited schools and talked to students, teachers and administrators. This was part of a Monroe [Scholars] project I conducted after my sophomore year. I just backpacked around. It was a big turning point in my life because I did it completely on my own. It helped me realize how self-sufficient I am — or can be.

*Can you tell me about your involvement on campus?*

I’m a head resident in the Randolph [Complex], and that’s probably my biggest time commitment. I was [a Resident Assistant] for two years in Yates [Hall], and then I became a head resident. Basically, I work with the RAs as a kind of mentor, and I also do hall council, which is probably one of my biggest time commitments right now because we’re planning an Iron Chef competition. We’re really excited because we’re getting dining services involved. They are actually going to loan us part of the [Commons Dining Hall] and provide us with food and everything. I really look forward to planning that with my hall council.

*What will you do during your Fulbright Assistantship abroad next year?*

I’ll be teaching English somewhere in Germany as well as American cultural studies. We’ll kind of be acting as ambassadors to reach out to the communities and tell them about the United States, who we are, and our values. The goal is to facilitate intercultural dialogue. The scholarship is something I’ve been thinking about for awhile with my research in education, and I never studied abroad because I just assumed I didn’t have enough money to do it. I know that’s not the case now, and I feel like it’s something I missed out on. The application process was very stressful, and it started all the way back in late August. I just now found out that I got the scholarship.

*What do you hope to do after your Fulbright scholarship?*

I’d really like to go to grad school for education or immigration policy. I used to want to work for the State Department, but I’ve decided not to do that because I want to be able to do something where I actually interact with people all the time. I worked for the State Department last summer, and, even though I was in public affairs, it was just too much in the office. I’d like to be a professor or teacher, someone who can affect policy.

*Do you imagine you’ll stay in Germany after the completion of your scholarship?*

I don’t know. There’s actually an option to take university courses while completing the Fulbright, but that will depend on where I’m ultimately placed. Going to grad school in Germany, or anywhere in continental Europe, would be much cheaper than doing it in the [United] States, so that’s an option. But I really love the United States, and I’m not as familiar with the programs in Europe.

*What campus events are you most excited about participating in during your last semester here?*

I’m excited for my last King and Queens [Ball], and everything leading up to graduation, like the Last Chance Dance … all of the things that seniors do, More seriously, I tutor English as a second language, and I’ve really gotten close to the two students I tutor. I want to make sure I make an impact on them and make the transition smooth to find someone else to tutor them after I’m gone.

*What’s the best book you’ve ever read for a class?*

One book I really liked is “The Wall Jumper” by Peter Schneider. I read it for a history of Germany class that I loved — the professor was awesome. It’s a novel that focuses on East Berlin and the [Berlin] Wall. I read it before I ever went to Germany.

*Who do you think has made the biggest impact on you here at the College?*

I was a Sharpe scholar freshman year, and the experience was wonderful. Really what made college for me was living in that community and meeting like-minded people who are concerned about social issues. They are all of my best friends now; we live together and work together with Sharpe.

*What is your favorite spot on campus?*

I’d say the barbecue pit in Randolph, just because I really love that community and the people in it. It’s a perfect spot for socializing and seeing who’s walking by.

_If you stop by the Commons about two weeks from now, you may see Katy displaying her ultimate cooking skills in the Iron Chef competition. But don’t be too intimidated; she’s only just won a Fulbright and finished a thesis, too._

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