BHSU grad Courtney Gross to enter Peace Corps

Author: BHSU Communications/Wednesday, December 9, 2015/Categories: 2015

Courtney Gross, far right, speaks with students in Botswana, Africa. Gross, who will earn her degree in English education Dec. 12 found numerous opportunities studying abroad while at BHSU. After earning her degree, Gross will work with U.S. Peace Corp.

Courtney Gross, Brandon, will earn her degree in English Education on Dec. 12.

While a student at Black Hills State University, Courtney Gross learned the importance of never overlooking an opportunity. Her willingness to study abroad was a defining experience that changed her outlook and created and opportunity to teach overseas.  

"You can look and find positive outcomes from anything," Gross said. "All opportunities are valuable."

The Brandon native will earn her degree in English education Saturday, Dec. 12 during the Black Hills State University 170th Commencement Ceremony. She will use her degree to teach English overseas.

Gross was accepted into the Peace Corps where she will serve as a primary literacy advisor in Jamaica. The opportunity will allow her to continue to use the skills she gained at BHSU to carry on her passion for education.

"I'm really excited to work in Jamaica and build up something positive in their education system," Gross said. "I know, too, that I will gain invaluable skills. It will build professional and personal growth throughout the whole process."

Gross ignited her passion for travel while at BHSU. She worked at the BHSU Writing Assistance Center (WAC), tutoring fellow students in writing and English. Gross met many international students through the WAC and hearing their stories encouraged her to study abroad.

Gross spent five months in Lithuania, which was perhaps one of the most defining moments of her time at BHSU, she said.

"One of the most empowering things you can do is go somewhere new and be vulnerable. You grow, you change, you become stronger," Gross said.

In addition to studying abroad in Lithuania, Gross was selected to travel to Botswana, Africa with BHSU President Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr. and other BHSU faculty members to help build a professional partnership with Botho University.

Gross gives credit to the excellent relationships with BHSU faculty and staff for her success and confidence to step outside of the box. She added that faculty and staff including Dr. Jami Stone, Dr. Denice Turner and Dr. Jane Klug have influenced her.

"Having the hands-on experience of working in the classrooms and mentoring students through the Teammates program helped me feel ready to student teach and go out into the field," Gross said.

In addition to working for the Writing Assistance Center and traveling abroad, Gross served on the Student Senate, ran cross country for two years and other activities. She completed research with Dr. Adam King and was accepted into the National Conference of Undergraduate Research.

Her involvement created excellent networking opportunities and built lifelong relationships that she says helped her develop into the professional educator that she is today.

"There are countless people both on the B-H campus and the community of Spearfish that I feel fortunate to have met," she said. "I learned to value these relationships and the opportunities BHSU presented me."

Number of views (418)/Comments (0)