Paul Pelham ’23 Excels at the Ministry of Education in Madrid

Paul Pelham in campus
Paul Pelham ’23 was a double major in philosophy and art history, and he became highly involved in Gettysburg College’s research opportunities.

“I really enjoyed the four years I spent at Gettysburg. I think what made it particularly rewarding is that I was allowed and even encouraged to study such a wide range of topics and ideas. The intense interdisciplinary nature of my education meant that the quality of the work and insights were elevated by a rich interconnective curricular tissue that wouldn’t exist if my studies weren’t so sprawling,” reflected Paul Pelham ’23, who graduated this past May after double majoring in philosophy and art history. “There were opportunities I had at Gettysburg College that probably wouldn’t have been available at another school.”

Today, Paul works under the Ministry of Education in Madrid as an English and Cultural Studies Teacher, where he helps write and organize the English curriculum utilised by public schools in Madrid.

“There’s a big effort to make public education functionally bilingual in Spain,” Paul shared. “In September, I moved to Madrid to help them teach and build the architecture of their English curriculum.”

The experiences he had at Gettysburg College, such as academic research, helped to better equip Paul to take on this role under the Ministry of Education in Madrid.

Pelham Wrestling
Pelham competed on the Bullets Wrestling team at Gettysburg College.

During his senior year, Paul took part in several research opportunities. One of these projects allowed Paul to curate an art exhibition for the Schmucker Art Gallery with four other students titled, “Let’s Play! Sports and Games in Art and Culture.” Under the direction of Art and Art History Prof. Yan Sun, the students examined depictions of sports and games across cultures and historical periods.

Paul was able to experience more hands-on learning opportunities by completing two independent studies, “Art in Black Radicalism” and “Derrida and Gadamer, Deconstruction and Hermeneutics.” Independent studies provide students the opportunity to participate in academic research, while a faculty member acts as a mentor and overseer of the project. For his independent studies, Paul worked with Art and Art History Prof. Nicholas Miller and Professor Emerita of Philosophy Lisa Portmess.

“Part of what made those four years at Gettysburg College really exciting was the fact that the College has some very talented faculty to work with,” Paul added. “It was really encouraging as an undergraduate to be allowed to work on independent research and to have faculty members trust that I could handle that responsibility and solve the problems that came with it.”

Pelham Graduation
Pelham worked with Art and Art History Prof. Nicholas Miller on an independent study called “Art in Black Radicalism.”

Paul also spent time abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France, through a program offered by the College’s nationally acclaimed Center for Global Education.

“Being abroad allowed me to explore places and communities that are radically different from our own,” Paul explained. “It also gave me the chance to understand how to deal with a language barrier.”

Through rewarding opportunities like connecting with faculty mentors and traveling abroad, Paul developed enduring skills that were taken beyond the College’s campus. The problem solving and intercultural perspective he developed now supports Paul in his role under the Ministry of Education in Madrid.

Learn more about the rewarding opportunities students have to work with Gettysburg College’s talented faculty.

By Laken Franchetti ’24
Posted: 04/02/24

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