The strength in community: Fulbright Scholar Caitlin Glance ’20 reflects ahead of Commencement

Female choir singing in a church
Caitlin Glance ’20 performing with the Gettysburg College Choir

Caitlin Glance ’20 reflects on her time at Gettysburg College, fondly and often—dinners at Servo, laughs shared with friends in the Blue Note Jazz House, springtime walks across the budding campus grounds, studying abroad in Spain, and touring major cities with the College Choir. The memories are endless.

Her Gettysburg experience gave her opportunities to combine her varied passions—education, linguistics, culture, and music—as she majored in Spanish and minored in music, all the while earning a teacher certification. But beyond the College’s top-tier academics, Gettysburg also connected her with friends and mentors who feel like family.

Four students standing together, one holding a large stuffed bear
Caitlin Glance ’20 (right) with her friends in the Blue Note Jazz House

“I didn’t want to go to a big university because I didn’t want to be seen as a number,” Glance said. “That’s why I loved Gettysburg. I still do. I was treated as an individual with goals and aspirations and found the path that I really wanted to take alongside other passionate people. Ultimately, when I think back on my four years at Gettysburg, I’m most proud of the relationships I built. They’ve helped me get to where I am today.”

The Gettysburg College community is what she missed most when the unpredictable circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of her remaining memories at Gettysburg. However, this same community is also what got her through it.

Caitlin Glance posing for an outdoor photo with the Gettysburg College choir
Caitlin Glance ’20 on tour with the Gettysburg College Choir

“We were performing in Boston in the middle of my last choir tour, and we were told that we had to stop and cancel the rest of our shows and head back home—either to Gettysburg, or some people were dropped off along the way back,” Glance said. “I stayed up here in Boston at my apartment, and I remember I had to fly down with my mom later to go pack up my room in the Blue Note Jazz House. It was just so difficult for all of us to just leave each other like that, and still continue on with school remotely. But, despite how challenging it was, I was still able to get through it because I knew I wasn’t alone.”

With grit and the support of her Gettysburg College family, Glance didn’t just finish her coursework and earn her degree remotely. She simultaneously started online summer courses through Boston College, and as part of an emergency program for first-responders working during the pandemic, she also taught Spanish to their preschool-aged children.

Caitlin Glance outside in front of a winery
Caitlin Glance '20 at Ysios Winery in Spain

Glance will soon earn her Master of Education from Boston College in 2022 with a Fulbright Scholarship under her belt. Getting ahead in her studies last summer allowed her to take full advantage of her five-month Fulbright opportunity. While abroad in Spain for the second time, Glance taught English to approximately 1,000 students between the ages of 5 and 18, immersed herself in the Spanish culture, and finished the school year with her host institution.

Caitlin Glance inside a classroom teaching with students
Caitlin Glance ’20 teaching students English in Spain

Always in search of a new adventure, Glance returned to the United States in June, and as of August, started a new job as an English as a second language instructor for individuals in the Boston community—many of whom are from migrant homes. She’s eager to teach and learn from her new students, and with her eyes toward the possibilities of the future, she said she aspires to be involved in curriculum development one day—playing a role in creating a more equitable education system.

“I know I’m one person and I can’t change the whole world or the whole country, but at the very least, I would like to make an impact somewhere,” Glance said.

Throughout the last year, Glance has kept in touch with her Gettysburg friends, updating them on her latest ventures, happily celebrating each big and little success at a distance, and reminiscing on their good old Gettysburg College days. Lately, one of her old choir group chats has been more active, Glance shared, as she and her peers eagerly count down the days until they’re reunited again at their postponed Commencement ceremony.

“We—the Class of 2020—are survivors, in the sense that we made it through,” Glance said. “Many of us are employed now. Some of us are still in school like myself, and other people are in other parts of the world, which is awesome to see. So, I think we as a class found these opportunities for ourselves in the sea of negativity. We’re moving past the challenging times and using our passions and Gettysburg College education to make a difference. That’s why I'm so excited to come back to Gettysburg in September for our Commencement ceremony: to see everybody, hear about their accomplishments, and give my friends a long-awaited hug.”

Commencement for the Class of 2020 will take place in Gettysburg on September 26, 2021—the Sunday of Homecoming Weekend. Visit our Commencement webpages for more details. If you are a member of the Class of 2020 who plans to attend the ceremony, please RSVP online.

By Molly Foster
Posted: 09/08/21