May 8, 2012 — Two New College of Florida students will travel to France next year under teaching assistantship grants awarded by the French government. Rose Marz, a French/English literature major from Fort Myers, Fla., has been assigned to a secondary school in Paris, and Alison Parks, an international and area studies/French major from Palm Coast, Fla., will teach in a primary school in Lille.
Both award winners will be among the 190-plus students graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from New College on May 25 of this year.
Marz and Parks make a total of 17 New College students who have received awards to teach in France since 2000-2001. The Teaching Assistant Program in France is a joint initiative of the French Ministry of Education, the Centre international d’études pédagogiques (CIEP) and the Cultural Services Department of the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. Each year, nearly 1,500 American citizens and permanent residents teach for seven to nine months in public schools across all regions of metropolitan France and in the overseas departments of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion.
“It is wonderful that both Rose and Alison have been selected for this increasingly competitive program,” commented Professor of French Language and Literature Amy Baram Reid, who was the faculty adviser for both students. “They will each bring very diverse interests and strengths to their French classrooms, and they represent the range of students who thrive here at New College. Both women took advantage of New College’s flexible curriculum to spend time studying abroad. It has been a great pleasure to work with both of them over the past four years.”
Rose Marz “fell in love with the language of fencing” when she was only 10 years old and has been the organizing force of the New College fencing club. She has taken several opportunities to study French in countries where it is spoken: in Toulouse and Strasbourg, France, as a high school student; and in Canada at the Université du Québec à Montréal, a public French-language university, during her fall 2010 term at New College. In the fall of 2011, she was a popular teaching assistant for the Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) held at New College. Duke TIP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving academically gifted and talented youth.
“I’m excited both about teaching and being in Paris,” says the Fort Myers Senior High School graduate. Traveling is also on her agenda and apparently in her blood; Marz’s parents, Amy and Barry Marz, are seasoned travelers, her mother having served in the Peace Corps following graduation from Sarah Lawrence, and her father as an airline pilot. But ultimately Marz hopes to pursue a master’s in library science to become either a reference or marketing librarian. “I want to improve literacy in any way that I can,” she says. “That’s my focus.”
Alison Parks’ second year at New College (2009-2010), was spent studying in Paris. During that time she was invited to teach English at a middle school there, and loved it. “I lived with a host family,” recalls Parks, who considers herself proficient in French. “It really helped in learning the language.” She has also done extensive work in Chinese language.
“Alison’s thesis project, which unites her interests in French and Chinese culture, was ambitious, truly original and of interest to people in a very broad range of fields,” says her senior thesis adviser, French professor Jocelyn Van Tuyl. “The fact that she kept up with both French and Chinese throughout her years here — completing enough coursework in Chinese that she could easily have added a third area of concentration — is extremely impressive. Alison is going to be a very competitive candidate for whatever career or graduate study she selects, and an additional year of living and working in France will only enhance her skills.”
Parks’ love affair with all things French also began in childhood, when at the age of five she was introduced to the Madeline books and announced to her parents (Cheryl and William Parks of Palm Coast) that she wanted to learn French and move to France. She began studying the language in her freshman year at Flagler Palm Coast High School. Parks plans to attend graduate school in international studies and political science and would like to work either in academia or diplomacy.
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