Fulbright scholar heads to Alaska to explore Indigenous education

15 January 2021

Congratulations to University of Queensland student and Aboriginal educator Beth Madsen, who received a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Alaska for six months. 

A PhD Candidate in UQ’s School of Education, Ms Madsen will use this scholarship to look at funding as a form of policy enactment within Indigenous education.

University of Queensland student and Aboriginal educator Beth Madsen.

With a keen interest in pre-service teacher education, she will explore ways to work with pre-service teachers to embed Indigenous perspectives within the curriculum.

“The Fulbright experience will allow me to learn about Alaskan Native education policy, funding and practice, and make comparisons with how we do things here for our young people,” Ms Madsen said.

She will study at both Alaska Pacific University and University of Alaska Anchorage, who offer an entire curriculum across all faculties that is ‘infused’ with Native Alaskan knowledges.

“This is something that teachers across Australia are required to do, but often struggle with,” Ms Madsen said.

“I am hoping to learn how embedding works over in Alaska and see how these tenets could be implemented here at UQ, but also within our broader school curriculum.”

As an Aboriginal educator this area of research is something Ms Madsen is extremely passionate about.

“I feel very grateful to the Fulbright commission for giving me this opportunity to travel to the United States to continue my learning,” she said.

Although she will be based at Anchorage, Ms Madsen hopes to travel within the state to communities and local college campuses to gain a broader understanding of current policy and funding models in Alaskan Native education.

“I will also look at how Alaskan Native place and knowledge-based learning is incorporated within their university courses.”

Head of UQ’s School of Education Professor Patricia Morrell said Ms Madsen will be an excellent ambassador for UQ whilst on her Fulbright. 

“Beth is outstanding in so many ways:  she is an accomplished tutor, has a solid foundation to her research base with publications and presentations, and is developing a strong record of service within the School of Education,” Professor Morrell said.

“This Fulbright experience will provide her with a new lens with which to view her own research, and I know she will apply what she learns overseas to her work here in Australia.”

COVID pending, Beth plans to travel to Alaska in 2022 and stay for six months.

* This article was originally published by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at UQ.

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