Former Souhegan educator a Fulbright Scholar
Rebecca Martusewicz, a professor of social foundations of education in the teacher education department at Eastern Michigan University, was designated a Fulbright Scholar for the 2015 fall semester.
She is conducting research and teaching at the University of Tampere, about 110 miles north of Finland’s capital, Helsinki.
Between August 2006 and January 2008, Martusewicz was a visiting instructor and consultant at Souhegan High School in Amherst, with a focus on educating for sustainability. Along with science teacher Melissa Chapman, English teacher Ken Boisselel and social studies teacher Gary Schnakenberg, she developed and co-taught a senior seminar called food systems and sustainability, in which students explored social, economic and environmental effects of the contemporary globalized food system, as well as Amherst’s agricultural history.
Martusewicz is a scholar in a field called EcoJustice Education, which examines the common roots of ecological problems and social problems such as sexism, racism and economic marginalization. These issues are often seen as separate, Martusewicz said, but both come from the same origins in the range of changes that accompanied industrialization in Europe and North America.
Martusewicz said Finland "represents a really interesting opportunity for understanding these processes. At the end of the second World War, Finland was still mostly rural and agricultural, to a far greater degree than the U.S. So many of the changes that occurred in the U.S. over a century and a half were compressed into 30 or so years.
"This change from a rural/agricultural to an urban/industrial society was very rapid – by 1970, the percentages of the population that were urban versus rural had entirely flipped around. Compulsory education played a main role in bringing these changes about. … This is what I want to research, and try to uncover some of the effects on Finnish society and Finland’s environment," she said.
Martusewicz is married to Schnakenberg, a member of the Souhegan faculty from its opening in 1992 through 2011 and Milford High School social studies teacher from 1985-92. In 2013, he was awarded a Ph.D. in geography from Michigan State University, where he works as an instructor and is the undergraduate adviser in the geography department.