Local teacher selected for National Geographic fellowship

Posted, Tuesday, April 22, 2014 --- 5:17 p.m.

One local teacher is getting the trip of a lifetime. She's one of only 25 nation wide selected for a fellowship to Antarctica.

It's a National Geographic program that finds teachers who go above and beyond in the classroom. Then, they ship them off to learn new ways to bring geography into the classroom, and one of the lucky teachers is right here in Madison.

"I'll be spending my winter break in Antarctica."

When Nichole Von Haden first applied for the coveted fellowship, she knew being one out of 1,300 applicants was a long shot.

"I spent a few hours on the application and shockingly, I got a phone call a couple months later."

Now the Sherman Middle School bilingual resource teacher will head to Antarctica with a team of naturalists, and scientists. Escaping the Wisconsin winter for a much colder Antarctic summer.

"There'll be more sun--24 hours of it to be exact!"

It's all about finding new ways to bring geographic awareness to the classroom. Something Nichole says she's always trying to incorporate through virtual trips, and is looking forward to everything else she'll pick up.

"I can learn about these things in a classroom, but actually going somewhere, traveling the world and being able to bring these ideas back to the students is what I'm looking for in a curriculum."

She says things we do here in Madison do affect Antarctica and she hopes to show that to the kids.

"So I hope to bring the students that reality that even though someplace is very far away we do make a difference and we do have an impact."

Nichole is leaving on Thursday for orientation in Washington D.C. She'll meet the other 24 teachers and learn exactly how the December expedition will work out.


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