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October 26, 2020

Alumni Success Stories

Christina Franko Uliano '07

Art educator Christina Franko Uliano ’07 with fourth grade students at the Gabo school in Cartago, Colombia.

When Christina Franko Uliano ’07 won a Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms grant in 2018, the Philadelphia-based art educator seized the opportunity to participate in the yearlong program.

“I designed my curriculum to bring a global and cultural environment to the classroom, and I wanted to learn more, so I can do it better,” she explained.

Unlike other Fulbright grants, which require lengthy residencies, the global classroom program features a two-to-three-week international immersion, to allow educators to continue teaching while participating in the experience. Uliano spent her time abroad in Colombia, where she was able to shadow and then collaborate with a local teacher. At home in the U.S., she enrolled in Fulbright’s global education online course and attended their symposium in Washington, D.C., which provided her with a robust toolkit for bringing global thinking into the classroom and helping her students understand how they’re all connected.

“I’m teaching at the Andrew Jackson School, and we have a lot of students and families who are immigrants and first generation,” she said. “It’s good for my students to see the world in a broader way and this program helped me bring that to them. Art is a place where students can come together and learn about each other. I’m a true believer in the power of art. It’s the glue that holds together a school community, and that’s what makes art educators so important.”

Next, Uliano plans to apply to other international teaching experiences, including for a Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching, which would send her abroad again, this time with an emphasis on conducting research. Aspiring art educators can learn more about how to introduce a global experience into the classroom by reading her blog for the Pennsylvania Art Education Association, where she serves as the elementary division director, at paeablog.org/author/cfuliano.

“Our organization is big on advocacy,” she said. “Join as a student and do a favor for your future self. It’s the perfect place to begin networking, collaborating and building a toolkit for your classroom.”

This article first appeared in the Summer 2020 Tower magazine.

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