For Brookdale professor Terry Konn, learning does not begin and end inside the classroom. Since joining the college to establish a radiologic technology program back in 1997, Konn has been determined to broaden the horizons of both her students and her colleagues, sometimes quite literally.
She was a pioneering member of Brookdale’s Global Citizenship Project, which encourages students and faculty to think outside their own country and approach education, issues and activism from an international perspective. She regularly leads study abroad excursions to Rwanda and Ghana, where she encourages students to immerse themselves in unique cultural experiences and provide hands on support to local health clinics, women’s centers, schools and hospitals.
When not teaching, she also manages a nonprofit offering education to health professionals across the globe, and serves as a volunteer faculty member at the National University of Rwanda’s College of Health Sciences in Kigali, Rwanda and at the Martin Luther Health Training School (MLHTS) in Accra, Ghana.
In 2014, Konn even helped foster a partnership between MLHTS and Brookdale, sharing lesson plans, supplies and later coordinating a volunteer trip to Accra to help local faculty adopt Brookdale’s “competency-based” teaching methods.
“To me, it is an honor to be able to share my knowledge and expertise with professionals like myself, who often have limited or no resources,” Konn said.
It’s no surprise, then, that Konn would receive one of the highest forms of recognition for an international scholar. In 2007, she received a Senior Fulbright Scholarship to teach and conduct research at the University of Rwanda, where she spent ten months learning the ins and outs of local teaching and learning styles and developing curriculum for the university’s medical imaging programs.
Earlier this year Konn learned she had been selected for a second Fulbright Scholarship, which will allow her to spend 14 weeks throughout 2016 and 2017 teaching and doing research in both Ghana and Rwanda. Her first trip, which is focused on the types of care available for female patients at local health clinics, began this May.
While lecturing and meeting with MLTHS faculty last week, Konn was presented with an unexpected honor in recognition of her continuing volunteer efforts in Ghana. On May 23, MLTHS officials officially dedicated the schools library to Professor Terry Konn.
In addition to providing support and resources for local patients and health care providers, Konn said she believes her work will also serve as a benefit her students and colleagues back home at Brookdale.
“Being able to engage in scholarship and outreach in developing nations allows me to see the world and our profession from a very different light,” said Konn, in an email from Ghana. “It allows me to understand the state of health care, social structures, culture and economy, thus allowing me to share this information with fellow faculty, students and Global Citizenship members at Brookdale.
“Making connections and building bridges with counterparts will allow us to build programs and educational resources for our students,” she added. “Having these experiences also allows me to be much more sensitive to our international students who have overcome many obstacles to come to Brookdale. I look forward to sharing these experiences with our college community.”
The core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program provides approximately 800 teaching and/or research grants to U.S. faculty and professionals each year. Konn’s second Fulbright Scholarship is a rarity for a community college faculty member, and rarer still for a medical imaging professor. Then again, Konn is not your ordinary community college teacher.
“I am one of the first faculty in medical imaging to ever have received one Fulbright Scholarship, and I am privileged to have received two,” she said. “I am just very honored and lucky to receive this award.”
Learn more about Brookdale’s Global Citizenship Project here.
Learn more about the Radiologic Technology Program here.
Featured photo: Professor Terry Konn (right) stands with the nursing faculty at the Martin Luther Health Training School in Ghana. Photo courtesy of Terry Konn.