After graduating from Virginia Tech with a double major in Political Science and French, Rachel Kirk taught high school French for three years in New Orleans, Louisiana. During that time, she led two student trips to France and Spain for the first time in the school’s history. She received a Fulbright grant through which she taught in Rabat, Morocco at the École Normale Supérieure, the secondary teacher training university, and began studying both Moroccan Darija and Modern Standard Arabic. She is current studying Spanish and Arabic in Granada, Spain and designing curriculum resources for an ESL e-learning platform. She has also recently co-founded a non-profit called the Women’s Global Empowerment Initiative where she will be piloting a program to take 10 young women from low-income high schools in Atlanta, New Orleans, and Louisville, to Agadir, Morocco this July. This group of young women will do a three-week program on gender rights, environmental sustainability, and Arabic language study, in partnership with the NGO Dar Si Hmad.
Rachel will be starting a Masters in International Education Development at Teachers College at Columbia University this Fall. She hopes to focus her research on the role that access to world language instruction and study abroad with social justice curriculum have on upward mobility for students in undeserved schools in the United States, France, and Morocco. She will also continue her study of Arabic at Columbia through the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship. Her long-term goal is to work with high schools in New Orleans and elsewhere in the south of the United States to promote language and exchange opportunities for under-served schools.