Alumna Wins Fulbright Award, Headed to Netherlands for Research Study Inspired by Students

Adrienne Berg

Adrienne Berg ’15 MED will use her Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching to research the Dutch approach to sex education in schools.

The love of learning for Adrienne Berg ’15 MED extends from herself to her students. She encourages young people to pursue lives of leadership and public engagement through her role as high school director of Woods Charter School in Chapel Hill. In addition to mentoring adolescents, she has taught middle and high school English language arts for more than a decade.

Adrienne Berg ’15 MED: In Her Own Words

Why I chose to the College of Education:
I won a Borchardt Fellowship to study in the UK in 2012 [Ruie Pritchard and Kevin Oliver served as co-PIs on this grant], which introduced me to the College of Education, along with all the opportunities the college offers for creative research and classroom exploration. The college’s New Literacies and Global Learning M.Ed. program was a perfect fit for my interests in collaborative learning, independent inquiry and technology as an expressive tool.

What I learned at the college:
The skills and approaches that I learned at NC State can apply to any subject, so I will use them to research, evaluate, synthesize and share my work through multimodal digital media.

“I get to help students gain confidence and independence on the path to graduation,” said Berg. “I also get to model lifelong learning — showing connections between school and real life, as well as how adults can continue to grow, ask questions and learn beyond the classroom.”

Next fall, she’ll do just that through her Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching, which allows her to design her own research project. Berg will travel to the Netherlands to learn about the approach that the Dutch take toward sex education in schools.

In the Netherlands, the standard curriculum includes comprehensive sexuality education, which has been credited for more positive public health outcomes, including low teen pregnancy rates, low STD rates and overall healthy relationships. Berg will study the evidence-based curriculum to see what she can take back to the U.S.

The design for her project evolved from student research into the sexualization of girls through dress codes, the North Carolina curriculum in healthy living, and community surveys about attitudes toward sexuality information.

“Given the current conversations about consent on college campuses,” Berg said, “I’d like to empower high school students to navigate their transition to adulthood with information and confidence.”

Berg says that her students show great excitement to learn with her through the Fulbright program. Her scholar leadership will allow her to answer her students’ questions, and provide support for their quest to make sense of current issues in a safe environment.