The Center for European Studies announced the first winner of a fellowship for students that honors the work of the Center’s former executive director. The School of Education graduate student will use the funding from the award to travel to France with his former middle-school pupils for a service learning project on World War II.
Mark “Tony” Carter, a social studies teacher at Smith Middle School in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools system and a student in the Master of Education for Experienced Teachers program at UNC, was awarded the Ruth Mitchell-Pitts START (Student Travel and Research Term) Fellowship for 2014, awarded by CES for a project that embodies the dedication to European studies that its namesake was known for in her tenure at CES.
“A group of high school students who had Tony previously decided that they wanted to do a service learning project with veterans of WW II to capture their stories in Normandy for the D-Day commemorations this summer,” explained Suzanne Gulledge, Carter’s adviser at the School of Education. “There is something about how we learn and brain science that we are finding out [experiential education] can be an aid to learning. We’re trying to capture those things to apply them in the teaching of history and social studies as Tony does everyday with his [8th-grade] students.”
Carter will chaperone the students, document their activities, collect data, and report on the case study for use in an ebook to be co-written with Dr. Gulledge.
“I imagine Ruth would be really pleased with that,” Gulledge said.
Dr. Ruth Elizabeth Mitchell-Pitts (1951-2009) was born in Scotland and arrived in the US in 1969. She earned a BEd in French and an MA in West European studies, both at Indiana University-Bloomington, and a PhD in political science at UNC-Chapel Hill. In 1992 she began the position of part-time program coordinator of the young Center for European Studies at UNC and soon became its full-time executive director while building it into one of the preeminent academic centers on its discipline in the nation. She launched several programs that continue today such as the Curriculum in Contemporary European Studies and the TransAtlantic Masters program, and spearheaded several rounds of successful grant proposals from both the US Department of Education and the European Union. CES has held the network coordinator role for the EU Centers of Excellence in the US since 2006.
“Ruth was a pioneer in European Studies,” CES Executive Director Erica Edwards said. “The Center for European Studies today recognizes Ruth’s energy and commitment that drove her to apply for those grants. The fellowship epitomizes all that she represented and reminds us that she was important not just here at UNC but also nationwide in terms of her advocacy of European Studies.”
How to donate to the fellowship
Donations to CES are welcome year-round and one can earmark the gift to the Ruth Mitchell-Pitts START Fellowship using the following link: Donate to CES. Please select the fund name from the dropdown list of three.
Listen to Carter’s adviser, Dr. Suzanne Gulledge, talk about Ruth and Tony in this audio recording: