May 09, 2023

Seven-Month Teaching Appointments To Begin in October

Three members of Susquehanna’s Class of 2023 will begin their postgraduate journeys in Europe through the Teaching Assistant Program in France.

The following seniors will be English teaching assistants in French public schools:

  • Chelsea Cirillo, a double major in French studies and international studies from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, will be in the Toulouse school district in southern France.
  • Brooke Hegenbarth, a history major and French studies minor from Wilmington, Delaware, will be in the Nice school district in southeastern France.
  • Ashley Sanchez, a double major in French studies and international studies with a minor in political science, will be in the Normandy school district in northern France. Sanchez is from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Additionally, Julia Loudenback ’22, who spent the 2022–23 academic year in the TAPIF program in Martinique, will continue in the program for a second year — this time in Réunion, an island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Madagascar.

“This is the second consecutive year Susquehanna has had three students accepted to TAPIF,” said Lynn Palermo, associate professor of French studies. “The program is quite selective, so our success in it speaks to the language and cultural competencies they have gained at Susquehanna.”

Their TAPIF participation marks a return to France for Cirillo, Hegenbarth and Sanchez. Hegenbarth has personal ties to France and has traveled to the country multiple times to visit extended family. Cirillo and Sanchez both studied abroad in Strasbourg through Susquehanna’s Global Opportunities program.

“My study-abroad experience was life-changing and gave me a new perspective of how people live, learn and interact,” Cirillo said. “I look at TAPIF as an opportunity to expand my horizons further, studying in a different region than where I studied abroad.”

She credits her coursework at Susquehanna with preparing her for this upcoming chapter in her life.

“My major has helped me prepare for TAPIF through immersive classes. Dr. Palermo conducts her classes entirely in French. She has us do projects that involve speaking, writing and critical thinking with minimal use of online sources,” Cirillo said. “My time during my GO program especially progressed my preparedness, as I was completely immersed in the French language during my classes and living with a host family.”

After TAPIF, Sanchez plans to attend law school to practice immigration law.

“I wanted to participate in TAPIF because I want to experience living abroad,” Sanchez said. “My dream job is to be able to work and live internationally, so this is a great way to have some experience living in a new country.”

After her TAPIF experience, Cirillo is considering pursuing a master’s degree in international affairs or seeking a position in foreign service. Hegenbarth is considering a career in travel management.

The goal of TAPIF is to strengthen English-language instruction in French schools by establishing a native speaker presence. Every year, more than 1,500 American English language teaching assistants are hired by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, which manages the program. These assistants teach in public schools across all regions of metropolitan France and in the overseas departments of France, such as French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion.