Jason Carter, a 2017 graduate of UNC Asheville’s Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences program, never had the chance to explore outside of the United States until he started taking his students and Evergreen Community Charter School on international travel experiences. Now he’ll be taking his own educational trip abroad with a Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms grant to travel to Senegal in West Africa in April, 2019.
Carter, who teaches seventh- and eighth-grade science, was inspired by the experiences his students gained during their international travels, he said.
“They not only learned so much more about the world around them, they came back to the U.S. more engaged citizens. They began to care more deeply about global issues, and a number of them sought out more opportunities for travel and studying world issues,” Carter said. “When I learned about the Fulbright program for teachers, I saw it as an opportunity to further my own understanding of education as a global issue.”
Carter’s passion for global perspectives on education was fueled by his courses in climate change and global public health as Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences (MLAS) student.
“These classes in particular not only made me a better science teacher and introduced me to a tremendous wealth of resources on these important topics but they also instilled in me the great importance of a global perspective on solving such pressing issues facing the world,” Carter said.
These issues, Carter learned, are best solved “through careful and thoughtful engagement with people from all walks of life and all parts of the world.” He’ll take that mindset with him to Senegal, where he hopes to examine the role of education in helping address climate change, communicable diseases, and gender equity.
“The best way to engage is to be able to see the issues through the perspectives of and with a sensitivity to all of the cultural, social, and economic groups that make up the world,” Carter continued. “In the Fulbright program, I know that by spending a longer period of time in a very different part of the world to examine the role of education in solving global issues, I will gain so much more empathy and understanding. The MLAS program has paved the way for me to take full advantage of this.”
As Carter prepares for his trip across the globe, he’s also been named a Science Ambassador for the National Center for Science Education—he was one of only 10 teachers in the nation to receive the honor. Carter and his colleagues will develop a curriculum to help educators leverage fake news to better teach climate change.
“My classes on both climate change and public health for my MLAS were pivotal in getting chosen for this honor,” Carter said.
It’s all part of Carter’s larger goal of understanding complex issues from a global perspective, and helping his students gain that understanding, as well.
“I love to learn,” Carter said, “so digging deep into how to make students more global, more empathetic, and more aware of the important work that lies before them is a passion of mine.”
To learn more about UNC Asheville’s Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as well as graduate-level certificates in subjects such as Climate Change & Society, visit https://mlas.unca.edu/apply.