Oct. 31, 2023

NDSU lecturer earns outstanding language educator award

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Mary Thrond, NDSU lecturer in Spanish
Mary Thrond

Mary Thrond, NDSU lecturer in Spanish, received the Emma Birkmaier Award for outstanding language educator from the Minnesota Council on the Teaching of Languages and Cultures at their annual conference on Oct. 28. The award, which referred to as the "Emma," is considered the lifetime achievement award. She was nominated by former colleagues, administrators and students.

The Emma Birkmaier Award recognizes outstanding service and support for world languages and cultures by someone within the language-teaching profession in Minnesota.

The awardee needs to:

  • Have sustained involvement in the teaching of world languages and cultures;                                                                                                                                         
  • Have made a significant impact on MCTLC or on the teaching of world languages in Minnesota;                                                                                                         
  • Have significant service to or support for the language-teaching profession; and  
  • Be considered a major contributor to the profession.

Thrond also presented, "The UN Goals for Sustainable Development and the Social Justice Standards as a Framework for Boundless Possibilities," at the conference.

In addition, on Oct. 16, Thrond attended the Language Advocacy Day sponsored by the Joint National Committee on Languages and National Council on Languages and International Studies to advocate for language studies.  She met with Joseph Ballard, legislative assistant to Representative Kelly Armstrong, and Ty Kenndy, legislative assistant to Senator John Hoeven, to discuss the importance of supporting funding and upcoming legislation favoring the study of languages. Both Senator Hoeven and Representative Armstrong speak other languages, Hoeven French and Spanish and Armstrong Norwegian. Both have studied abroad. Senator Hoeven has supported legislation for Native American Language Revitalization in the past. 

Thrond has been advocating for language study, equity and diversity and global studies at home and abroad since 2012.

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