March 25, 2014

Cartier ’16 Awarded EC Travel Fellowship to Finland

Photo by MacKenzie Vogel '16

Molly Cartier '16 was recently awarded the Emmanuel College Travel Fellowship for Advanced Study and will travel to Tampere, Finland, for three weeks beginning on May 6, 2014.

A double major in mathematics and secondary education, Cartier spent her winter break researching the curricula at schools around the world, and found that Finland was consistently on top in test scores and rankings. Immediately, she began to brainstorm whether or not a trip to the country was possible.

"I knew that I could read about Finland all I wanted," she said, "but unless I could make a personal connection, I would be unable to fully absorb it."

After exploring travel opportunities offered through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and discovering that none of their programs directly fit her academic goals, Cartier reached out to Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies and Director of Fellowships Laurie Johnston, who suggested she apply for the Emmanuel College Travel Fellowship.

Cartier began to contact international schools in Finland, but learned that they didn't follow the Finnish curriculum. With the help of Katrin Križ, associate professor of sociology and director of Emmanuel's honors program, she was able to connect with a teacher at Sampo Upper Secondary School in Tampere, who invited her to observe his classroom.

While in Tampere, Cartier will observe the Finnish teaching environment, comparing their techniques with those of American schools to determine what makes education in Finland so successful.

"Schools in Finland only require 600 instructional hours," Cartier said. "So I am curious to see how they use their time in the classroom.

"Teachers at Finnish schools are also highly valued, as much as doctors and lawyers," she added. "Only the top percentage of applicants gets into [university] programs. I think we have a lot to learn from them."

Cartier will use the research she completes on this trip to inform her senior distinction project, which she will present in the spring of 2015 prior to graduating in December.

To learn more about fellowships at Emmanuel College, please click here.