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I’m Melissa, and I’ll be spending my summer here as an education intern doing research for National Geographic Education’s policy initiative, as well as writing and researching for My Wonderful World. For my first blog entry (ever!), I want to share a little about myself and why I’m so excited to be here.
I’m a Vermonter, from a state that, if included on the Roper Poll, many Americans probably wouldn’t be able to find. I grew up strangely aware of and obsessed with cultural geography. A true Disney princess fan, I loved fairy tales and would constantly try to find their countries of origin on a map. I was also introduced to culture through the French songs and phrases that my mother taught me, through Hebrew School and contact with my Israeli cousins, and by eating pierogis and kielbasa on Christmas with my father’s family. In second grade, I got my first “adult” atlas and would spend hours looking at it.
I think that knowledge of the world, cultivated through childhood interests in anything from sports to animals, is an amazing stepping stool toward true global awareness. My obsession with fairy tales as a child fueled my love for travel, for food and for the world. I have been to Israel two different times (at ages seven and nineteen) and France as part of a school exchange. During my junior year of high school, I lived in Randers, Denmark, where I attended a Danish high school and also visited Iceland and Sweden. Deprived of reasonably priced ethnic restaurants in Burlington, VT, (where I go to school at the University of Vermont), I have recently begun trying to cook ethnic foods in my apartment. My favorite meal? Homemade falafel, humus and pita!
So in short, I am very excited to work on the policy initiative to advance K-12 geographic education, as well as other programs. I hope that my work at NGS will help other children to have the same valuable experiences that I had as a child.