COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Columbus State University senior Willietta Grant has been named the 2012 winner of the Charlie Crouch Award, which recognizes exceptional participation in one of the University System of Georgia's European study abroad programs.
She is the first CSU student to ever earn this honor from the USG's European Council, which offers summer study abroad courses, taught mostly by faculty from Georgia colleges and universities, in six European countries.
"I am honored," Grant said. "It's an even greater honor because I never saw it coming, and because it's based more on merit than academics. Academics are important, for sure. But merit, that's the character of a person."
Grant was picked from the 250-300 study abroad program students in the six EC programs last summer. She was nominated by the director of her program, with the winner of the award chosen by faculty who form the EC executive committee. Grant studied last July and August in the EC Madrid program, taking Spanish and Spanish culture classes.
Grant, a Columbus resident, is scheduled to graduate from CSU Dec. 10 with a mathematics-secondary education degree. Grant said she would continue teaching kindergarten at a Phenix City, Ala., private school through the end of the current school year. She plans then to teach high school mathematics next fall in the Muscogee County School District.
The award is named after the late historian of France at Georgia Southern University who was a longtime member of the EC and an advocate of study abroad programs as transformational experiences that combine international academic study and immersion in the culture of a host culture. It's given annually to the EC student who demonstrates above others the desire to learn and grow as a global citizen through studies and activities outside the classroom.