News: CCU Alumna Named Fulbright Scholar

Van Kooten Awarded Fulbright Grant to Teach in the Netherlands

Colorado Christian University alumna Madelyn Van Kooten '20 has been named a Fulbright Scholar. Van Kooten, who graduated this spring with a double major in English and Secondary Education, is the first CCU undergraduate student to be awarded a Fulbright grant. The Fulbright U.S. Scholar program provides research, study, and teaching opportunities in 140 countries. Van Kooten intends to teach English in the Netherlands beginning in the fall.

"My goal in getting a degree in secondary education was to teach abroad. It's been my dream for a long time," Van Kooten said.

Van Kooten learned of her award during the week of spring break, a time when the University had just announced the transition to online instruction for the remainder of her final undergraduate semester.

Van Kooten said that while the situation remains fluid, she plans to leave in January for the Netherlands. Fulbright continues to monitor and re-evaluating the situation every 30 days. If Van Kooten is able to travel in the January, she will be paired with a Dutch teacher and will be tasked with teaching English as a native speaker and promoting American-Dutch relationships.

"Madelyn is suited in so many ways for this Fulbright grant and the work it will entail, as she has a passion for teaching, expertise in English as an English major with secondary licensure, and a personal heritage that reaches back to the Netherlands," said Dr. Janet Black, interim vice president of Academic Affairs for the College of Undergraduate Studies. "This award will also catapult her to new accomplishments because of the Fulbright's wide recognition and support around the world."

Van Kooten intends to rely on her already-considerable teaching experience during her time in the Netherlands. Through her studies in the School of Education, the Colorado native has logged more than 800 hours of teaching experience. Following her freshman year at CCU, Van Kooten took a mission trip in which she taught English to Syrian refugees in the Middle East. Additionally, she has spent the last two years teaching English as a second language online to students in Japan and other countries after earning her TESOL certification.

To other students thinking about teaching English abroad, Van Kooten encourages them to give it a try. "A lot of people are afraid of teaching English. The fact is, you know a lot more than you think you do because you speak it natively," Van Kooten said. "It opens a lot of doors. There are so many places looking for English teachers."