College of Education professor selected for fellowship in Israel

Published: May 11, 2023

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Christine Schnittka, professor of science education in Auburn University’s College of Education, is among 32 scholars from universities and colleges across the country who will travel to Israel this summer to participate in the highly competitive academic Faculty Fellowship Program. The trip, which will take place May 27-June 9, is made possible by the Jewish National Fund-USA and individual donors.

“I will be traveling with other academics from the United States and imagine that we will have some productive cross-discipline discussions that may lead to future collaborations. I will be meeting with the top science education scholars in all of Israel and know that I’ll come away with ideas and friendships that will lead to fruitful collaborations,” said Schnittka, whose specialty is developing and researching design-based curriculums for elementary and middle school youth, targeting key science concepts.

After taking private Hebrew lessons for two years, Schnittka looked for programs to collaborate with Israeli education faculty and practice her new language skills in an authentic environment. She and other participants will experience Israeli society, culture and historical sites in addition to meeting with professional experts in government, education, media and other sectors. 

“I am so looking forward to meeting science education faculty at the Weizmann Institute of Science and at Technion University. When I wrote my dissertation in 2008, my study built off the K12 engineering education work done by Professor David Fortus at the Weizmann Institute. Getting to meet him will be one of the highlights of the trip,” she said. “I am also looking forward to eating some falafel, halva and shakshuka.”

Schnittka is the fourth faculty member from Auburn to be selected for the fully funded intensive program, in which more 600 people throughout the nation have already participated.

“It is such a privilege to be able to travel overseas with professors from all over the United States. But more than that, this tour is so well planned and thought out, with so many events and activities that will be educative and enriching,” she said. “I’m looking forward to experiencing a country that has only existed in books and the imagination for me — to see it, and the people who live there come alive — to taste, smell, feel, hear and experience this ancient, historic and yet modern land with native peoples and those who immigrated there from across the corners of the Earth.”

Learn more about the Faculty Fellowship program.

Submitted by: MaryKate Hughes

Christine Schnittka

Christine Schnittka