Dr. Carla-Ann Brown, a dedicated educator and researcher at the University of Florida’s P.K. Yonge Developmental K-12 Research School, received the Fulbright Distinguished Award in the Teaching Research Program. As a three-time UF graduate, Dr. Brown’s experiences in London will bring fresh ideas to Gainesville.
Her award is a testament to her remarkable commitment to the education profession. This Fulbright program is for K-12 educators who have excelled in their fields. Recipients conduct global research and have other professional learning experiences abroad for three to six months. These teachers focus on research projects relevant to education in the United States and their host country. Brown’s research focused on the experiences of Black educators of compulsory-aged students in the U.S. and the United Kingdom. Chosen educators also collaborate with professors and students to conduct research to improve student learning. Brown was particularly passionate about this aspect, stating, “It is crucial to engage students and teachers in investigations and exposure to the world around them. We provide them with the tools necessary to grow their understanding of social constructs and the struggles or contributions of diverse cultural groups.”
Brown feels that her accomplishments, contributions to education and research are why she landed this highly-esteemed position. “In the eleven years since I started teaching, I have presented at over thirty international, national, state, and local conferences and published several articles and book chapters,” said Brown. Her dedication to creating equitable teaching and learning environments set her apart from the thousands of K-12 teachers who applied for the award.
When asked about her teaching career, Brown credits her education in the Proteach 5-year program, the Curriculum and Instruction doctoral program at UF’s College of Education and her current role at P.K. Yonge for broadening her horizons. These experiences, she said, have provided her with the opportunities and tools needed to impact students and their educational journeys positively. When she began the program, she was unaware of the possibilities that would become available to her, though she felt her options grow throughout her education. “Imposter syndrome is real!” Brown stated. “Over the years, I had to learn to be confident in the fact that I am qualified, I worked hard and do deserve the success I have, and I am worthy of those accomplishments being acknowledged and celebrated.”
Being a part of the Fulbright program has impacted Brown’s career. She said, “This experience allowed me to travel and collaborate with various primary and secondary schools around the United Kingdom, present my work to University colleagues and students across the country, lead professional learning sessions with my mentor and meet other professionals who I plan to continue to work with in the future.”
The Fulbright program was significant for Brown because “it supports educators in engaging in academic research when they may not get that opportunity in their home school districts.” Brown advanced her research through this program and fulfilled her lifelong dream of exploring Europe’s historical landmarks. While based out of London, her journey took her to iconic destinations such as Rome’s Colosseum and Trevi Fountain, Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia, Athens’ Acropolis and Temple of Zeus, Belfast’s Giant’s Causeway and Paris’ Louvre Museum. These experiences enriched her understanding of the world and further fueled her passion for education. She wholeheartedly encourages K-12 educators to consider applying for the Fulbright DA program because it is life and career-changing. Now, the P.K. Yonge community gets to benefit from her new perspective.