A Lalanne Alum’s Adventure

jkKelly Mullen, a high school Spanish teacher at Mother of Mercy High School in Cincinnati, hopes to inspire her students to be dedicated servants and compassionate members of society. Each summer she accompanies a small group of students to the Texas-Mexican border. They work with a community organization called ARISE (A Resource in Serving Equality) to coordinate a day camp for local, Spanish-speaking youth. This experience makes immigration and social justice issues personal for Kelly’s students. She explains, “In Ohio, we are so far removed from the border and the debate surrounding immigration. I want my students to experience these issues firsthand…the (high school) students begin to see them (immigrants) as humans – not just a political issue.”

This attention to educating her students about issues facing global communities recently earned Kelly a place in a group of only 35 educators (chosen from about 1,000!) awarded the Grosvenor Teacher Fellow through the National Geographic Society. This award recognizes excellence in geographic education and honors teachers who are committed to geographic literacy – helping students understand the world and their interconnection with it. The Grosvenor Teacher Fellows participate in a year of professional development, which includes an expedition workshop at the headquarters of the National Geographic Society in Washington D.C. “The most exciting part happens in October,” Kelly shares. That is when she will travel onboard a Lindblad expedition ship to the Galapagos Islands for hands-on learning. Kelly says, “I am thrilled to be chosen for the opportunity to learn more about the world and to share it with my students!”

jh“Kelly was born to teach,” says Peggy Brun, coordinator of the Lalanne Program, “and she was always eager to expand her knowledge and experiences.” Although she was a Spanish and International Studies major at UD and not an education major, Kelly recognized during her senior year that she had a passion for working with students.  She joined Lalanne as part of the initial licensure program and felt much support from her Lalanne community as a beginning teacher.  Kelly explains, “Since we were all in our first or second year of teaching, we had the opportunity to go through experiences together and grow…through Lalanne, I learned that my vocation is teaching!”

Kelly is finishing her fifth year of teaching at Mother of Mercy. She loves that Catholic education has an emphasis on creating community and a dedication to service. She is proud to help form her students into “active, faith-filled, and compassionate members of society.”

Congratulations Kelly! Enjoy your hard-earned adventure!

Check out the announcement from National Geographic >>