Fulbright Scholar Became World Traveler at La Salle
For Honors Program student and Fulbright Scholar Theresa Glinski, leaving La Salle is bittersweet.
Originally from the Roxborough section of Philadelphia, Glinski attended Central High School, which is a short walk from La Salle’s campus. Since she attended high school so close to campus, she admitted La Salle wasn’t initially her first choice for college. However, because her mother, Helen, ’78, and her brother, Mark, ’10, are
La Salle graduates, Glinski checked out La Salle and ultimately decided to make 20th and Olney her second home. Now, with graduation quickly approaching,
Glinski said she couldn’t imagine herself spending the last four years anywhere but here.
According to Glinski, a political science and English dual major, many of the opportunities she took advantage of during her time at La Salle stemmed from her professors. “La Salle faculty members are extremely approachable, which allows students to develop relationships with them that could often lead to other opportunities, including jobs,” Glinski said.
While taking the course Mass Media and American Politics, Mary Ellen Balchunis, professor of political science, saw Glinski’s interest in politics and encouraged her to join the College Democrats, an organization that she later served as President.
Balchunis also helped Glinski obtain an internship at Organizing for America, serving as a communication intern during the past presidential election. Her duties included writing press releases and coordinating campaign volunteers. Her office was located in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, which was President Obama’s rally headquarters when he came to Philadelphia.
Glinski has always been interested in politics, and, after taking a government and constitutional law course in high school, she knew it was her true calling. In addition to her majors in political science and English, Glinski will graduate with a minor in Leadership and Global Understanding (LGU).
Glinski said the LGU minor complements her political science and English majors nicely because LGU is often described as international relations with a social justice perspective. The part she enjoyed most about LGU was its travel component.
“Traveling to another country was such an enriching experience,” Glinski said. “Before traveling, we learned as much as we could about the country, and, once we arrived in the country, we received first-hand knowledge from the country’s citizens. Traveling really demonstrates how important learning outside the classroom is.”
Through LGU travel/study courses, Glinski traveled to Turkey and Cuba. In addition, she traveled to Israel and the West Bank as part of the University’s Writers Matter Program.
“Through this program, I was able to travel to Israel and territories in the West Bank to help establish their own writing program that allows students to express themselves at a critical time,” Glinski said. While abroad, she worked closely with students as a tutor and mentor.
Her keen interest in travel is what led her to apply for the Fulbright Scholar Program.
The Fulbright Program is an educational exchange facilitated by the U.S. Department of State that allows students and faculty to conduct research or teach abroad.
After graduation, Glinski will teach English at a secondary school in Slovakia. “My desire to complete the Fulbright in the Slovak Republic was sparked by my academic interests in
Cold War history and international relations post-Cold War,” she said.
She also chose Slovakia because it is one of the countries that offered an opportunity to teach at a secondary school. Teaching younger students was important to Glinski because, after researching Slovakia, she learned that it has a high unemployment rate for young people.
“I will be teaching English at a secondary school, thus providing English language skills to students who can then contribute to the growth of the Slovak economy,” she said. She said she hopes that she can make a difference in young Slovakians’ lives by teaching them English and making them more viable in the job market.
Glinski will be teaching at Spojena skola in Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava. She will be living there for 10 months and has already begun looking for apartments. “I want to get the full living abroad experience and immerse myself in the culture,” Glinski said. Although she’s intimidated about living alone in a foreign city, she’s extremely excited and looking forward to beginning a new chapter of her life in Slovakia this August.
-Danielle Marcus, ’13