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  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Julie Penner is a pioneer woman

  • Julie Penner is a pioneer.

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  • Julie Penner is a pioneer.
    The Pittsburg State University music education major will be the first teacher candidate to take part in the new PSU College of Education study-abroad program for their professional semester. She will be leaving Aug. 7 and will be student-teaching for five weeks at Morayfield East State School near Brisbane, Australia.
    “I love traveling to new places and have never been to Australia,” Penner said. “I just got an e-mail from the teacher education office about this opportunity, went to an educational meeting about it, and was hooked. I had to go.”
    She said that the school has students from preschool through seventh grade.
    “I’ll be working with their music teacher,” Penner said. “This is a home-stay situation, so I’ll be with an Australian host family.”
    She will be under the supervision of the Queensland University of Technology, and will have seminars with Australian teaching candidates.
    Carol Werhan, a new faculty member in the PSU family and consumer science department, was instrumental in establishing this program when she was at Minnesota State University, according to Megan Corrigan, assistant director, study abroad coordinator, PSU International Programs and Services.
    “Now she’s using her connections to make this program a possibility for our students,” Corrigan said.
    Penner said that when she leaves Aug. 7 she will meet up with a group from Minnesota State University at Mankato. They will travel for a week before going to Brisbane for the program.
    She noted that, while August is a hot summer month here, it will be winter in Australia.
    “It should be pretty nice when I’m there,” Penner said. “Brisbane is not so far south that it gets really cold.”
    When she comes back she’ll have 10 more weeks of student teaching, but it will be much closer to home.
    “I’ll be in Carthage for that,” Penner said.
    The daughter of Eddie and Brenda Penner, Pittsburg, she is a 2008 Pittsburg High School graduate.
    “I play the flute and I’ve played in the PSU Wind Ensemble, the marching band and the SEK Symphony,” she said. “I’ve also sung in the PSU choir.”
    Penner would like to teach either elementary or middle school band, and she believes her trip to Australia will be a very educational experience for her.
    “I think that the opportunity to go teach somewhere where I’m the one who’s different will help me a lot in teaching in my own classroom with the diversity I’ll have there,” she said.

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