Featured Intern: Marcela Korman

March 11, 2024

WIDA’s Dassler Internship is for undergraduate students with an interest in multilingual learners and professional learning. Marcela Korman currently holds the internship. She’s multilingual and a student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Marcela joined WIDA staffer Hannah Haynes to discuss multilingualism, her work at WIDA and her plans for the future.

Hannah Haynes: Let’s start with you telling me about yourself. Where are you from? Where are you going to school and what are you studying?

Marcela Korman: My name is Marcela Korman and I am from Bloomington, Minnesota. I am earning my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and I intend to graduate in the spring of 2025.

Hannah: What’s a fun fact about yourself?

Marcela: I was a ski instructor during high school at the local ski hill!

Another fun fact would be that I lived in Colombia and attended school there when I was five.

Hannah: What do you like to do in your free time?

Marcela: I enjoy going to the UW chess club, cooking with my friends, spending time with my roommate’s cat, Willow, and studying at the Wisconsin Historical Society library. Last spring, during the Wisconsin Supreme Court election, I was an on-campus student fellow for Project 72. I worked to help spread candidate information and register young voters. I discovered I love being a part of change. I am also looking into opportunities to involve myself in the upcoming 2024 presidential election.

Hannah: Can you tell me more about your political science major? How does it pique your interest?

Marcela: I chose political science for various reasons with the overall intention to actively make a positive difference in the world around me. I am passionate about equity, sustainability and education. A degree in political science gives me a greater opportunity to have a seat at the table and use my voice to help others. After school, I’d like to focus on making learning more accessible to all types of learners, like neurodivergent-friendly content and providing multilingual learners with the right resources to get the most out of their learning.

Hannah: How does your work at WIDA fit into this? Tell us about what you’ve been doing during your internship!

Marcela: I've gotten valuable insight into the world of education. I am gaining first-hand knowledge on what benefits learners, and what we can learn from each other. I do various types of tasks at WIDA—I moderate online webinars, work on Excel spreadsheets and do other relevant tasks that come along! During webinars, I provide technical support for all meeting attendees, manage breakout rooms and put information in the chat. I strive to create an inclusive environment in each webinar.

Hannah: What was it about the Dassler Internship that interested you?

Marcela: Various aspects of the internship interested me, but what stood out the most were the concepts WIDA works with specifically. Learning goals and ways to improve scaffolding are very familiar to me, as I am the daughter of two language teachers; one from the Midwest and the other from Cali, Colombia. The internship gives me a new lens into the world of education.

Hannah: What are some things you’ve learned in the internship or what’s something you’ve found particularly interesting?

Marcela: I learned about the connection between being a multilingual learner and reading. As a multilingual learner myself, I believed having dual language skills was impacting my reading in English negatively, but actually it can help! I am learning so much about myself as a learner, and that is truly a gift.

I also find the science of learning interesting. In each webinar I moderate, I learn new sequences of learning and helpful tools for retaining knowledge and reaching a deeper level of understanding.

Hannah: Can you tell us what multilingualism and being multilingual means to you? Has your view of multilingualism changed during your internship?

Marcela: Multilingualism is the duality of language, but it is also the culture that comes with that and the difference in perspective. Expansion of the worldview, deeper than language, comes along with this concept as well. Since my internship started, I have gained a new understanding of what it means to be multilingual and I realize now more than ever how much of an asset it is. My life in Wisconsin is multilingual, bicultural and overall immersive as a majority of my friends are international students. Multilingualism is fluency in people.

Hannah: What are your hopes for your future?

Marcela: My hopes for the future include travel. I wish to immerse myself in other cultures and experience life around the world. I would love to return back to Colombia to visit mis abuelos sometime soon. After graduation, I hope to start working for the government or the United Nations.


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