UAB alumna one of 35 educators selected as Grosvenor Teacher Fellow

Alumna Sarah Hicks will travel to the Galapagos Islands in an effort to enhance geographic knowledge in classrooms and local communities.

Written by: Tiffany Westry

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sarah hicks insideUAB alumna Sarah Hicks has been selected for the 10th annual class of National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellows.Sarah Hicks, UAB alumna and teacher at Thompson Middle School in Alabaster, Alabama, is one of 35 educators from the United States and Canada to be selected for the 10th annual class of National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellows.

The Grosvenor Teacher Fellows program is named in honor of Gilbert M. Grosvenor, chairman emeritus of the National Geographic Society and Education Foundation Board. The program gives current K-12 classroom teachers and informal educators from the United States, Canada, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico the opportunity to extend Grosvenor’s legacy of excellence in geographic education. Exemplary educators are recognized for their commitment to geographic education and given the opportunity to travel aboard the Lindblad-National Geographic fleet, giving educators the chance to enhance their geographic knowledge with hands-on field experience and bring that knowledge back to their classrooms and local communities.

“I’m very excited about this opportunity,” Hicks said. “Students always latch onto personal stories and personal experiences, anything that they can relate to. It makes things easier for them to conceptualize. I’m excited about bringing back a personal experience to share with them.”

Hicks received a bachelor’s degree in English from the UAB College of Arts and Sciences in 2011 and a master’s degree in English as a second language from the UAB School of Education in 2013. She is in her fourth year of teaching English as a second language to seventh- and eighth-grade students. Most of Hicks’ current students are Spanish-speakers. In past years, she has had students who speak Swahili, Hindi, Chinese and Vietnamese. Hicks incorporates current events to increase global awareness and cultural literacy. Her ultimate goal as an educator is to inspire students to become lifelong learners. She has presented at regional conferences and works within her system to provide training and resources to classroom teachers.

“UAB is really responsible for my figuring out that I wanted to be an ESL teacher,” Hicks said. “I realized that I enjoyed meeting people of different cultures and learning about their experiences. I was already in line to become an English teacher and teaching people to write. English as a second language just added an extra element to what I already loved to do.”

Hicks will depart to the Galapagos Islands for 10 days in October. While abroad, fellows will share the importance of geographic literacy with fellow travelers and develop activities to bring back to their classrooms.