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April 10, 2017

Avila University Announces Fulbright-Hays Winning Educators Chosen for Rwandan Social Justice Tour

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(April 6, 2017) KANSAS CITY, MO – Avila University has announced the names of 13 educators chosen to participate in From Genocide to Regeneration: An Exploration of Rwandan Social Justice Issues through the Lens of Education.

Teachers from various backgrounds and schools along with students preparing to be teachers will travel to Rwanda and seek to build on Avila University’s growing areas of international and global studies curricular offerings. Those on the tour will interact with Rwandan students and teachers in an exchange of teaching methods and ideas.  Likewise, U.S. teacher will bring back extensive knowledge of Rwandan genocide studies and social justice content that can be incorporated into their curriculum units and lessons for the classroom. The four-week study tour to Rwanda will take place July 3-28, 2017. 

The educators participating in the project abroad will be:

Kristin Anderson
Shawnee Mission East High School
English Teacher

Brett Beneke
Raymore-Peculiar High School
English Teacher

Allison Bertels
Bonner Springs High School
History, Geography & Government Teacher

Lauren Bouas
Southeast High School Kansas City Public Schools
Social Studies, Political Science & Geography Teacher

Ellen Carmody
Notre Dame de Sion High School
Assistant High School Division Head of Curriculum & Instruction

Sara Damon
Stillwater Junior High School (Stillwater, Wisconsin)
Human Geography & Global Studies Teacher

Kimberly Hillstock
Blue Valley Northwest High School
Literature, Composition, English Language Arts & Communication Teacher

Elise Keller
Guadalupe Centers Alta Vista Charter High School
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Teacher

Brooke Kueser VanHecke
Basehor-Linwood Middle School
English Language Arts Teacher

Madison Mueth
Avila University School of Education Teacher Candidate
Elementary Education and International Advocacy Teacher Candidate

Kristin O'Halloran
Turner Middle School 
Art Teacher

Mackenzie Pritchett
Avila University School of Education Teacher Candidate
Middle School Language Arts Teacher Candidate

Emilee Rose
Central Middle School Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools
English & Language Arts Teacher

The tour is the result of a generous grant from the U.S. Department of Education and the Fulbright-Hays Projects Abroad group study program. For the 2016 fiscal years, Avila was the only university in Missouri or Kansas to receive this Fulbright grant. The grant is designated for strengthening the capacity and performance of American education in world languages, cultural understanding, international studies and research.

The three-phase project will include the four-week study tour of Rwanda featuring first-person engagement and cultural immersion opportunities and post-trip follow-up and dissemination activities, which will include a day-long Rwandan genocide and social justice issues seminar for K-12 educators in the greater Kansas City area.

Participants are available for interviews at a pre-departure orientation session, Saturday May 20 from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM on the Avila campus in Foyle Hall, Room 900.


Avila University, a Catholic University sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, is a values-based community of learning providing liberal arts, professional, undergraduate and graduate education to prepare students for responsible, lifelong contributions to the global community. Our approach to education brings out the best in our students, so they can bring out the best in others.




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