This is the official press release by the Department of State:
Rachel La Russo Selected by U.S. Department of State for Prestigious English Language Teaching Fellowship
The U.S. Department of State announced the selection of Rachel La Russo of Berwyn Heights, Maryland for a 10-month fellowship project teaching English in Guinea at Barack Obama University. La Russo is one of only 165 U.S. citizens selected for the 2016-2017 English Language Fellow Program.
Though her native language is English, La Russo grew up speaking the French she was taught by teachers from Europe, West Africa, Haiti, and Canada at French Immersion schools in the Washington, D.C., area. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Romance Languages at the University of Maryland in College Park, and has just finished completing a Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language at the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico in San Germán. La Russo previously taught in the D.C. and Baltimore areas, Ontario, France, South Korea, and online for Englex, a Russian company. She has studied French, Spanish, Japanese, and Russian, and has traveled to approximately 30 different countries. As an English Language Fellow in Guinea, La Russo will teach English courses related to business and technology as well as provide teacher training for university staff, among other duties.
The English Language Fellow Program is the premier opportunity for experienced teachers of English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) to enact meaningful and sustainable changes in the way that English is taught abroad. Through projects developed by U.S. Embassies in more than 80 countries, Fellows work directly with local teachers, students, and educational professionals to improve the quality of English language instruction offered at prestigious universities and other academic institutions.
Since 1969, the English Language Fellow Program has sent thousands of TESOL scholars and educators abroad to promote English language learning, enhance English teaching capacity, and foster mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries through cultural exchange. On assignment, Fellows teach English, conduct teacher training, develop resources, and organize events and conferences. These projects are challenging and the teachers selected represent the best of the U.S. TESOL community. In return, the program provides professional development opportunities to help participants experience different cultures and build skills that can greatly enhance their TESOL careers back home.
English Language Fellows are counted among the more than 50,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. The Fellow Program is administered by the Center for Intercultural Education and Development at Georgetown University.