Grace Crapson

Grace Crapson recognizes strength in differences as a Cultural Ambassador

One of the first emails Grace received after transferring to Iowa State University her junior year was about becoming a Cultural Ambassador. She immediately jumped on the opportunity.

“I was looking to get involved on campus,” she said. “I wanted more experiences to get to know new people and do something outside my major.”

Grace is pursuing an English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement along with her elementary education degree, so she figured this would be a great way to connect her degree with a club not directly focused on her major.

This peer-mentorship program pairs international and U.S. students based on student preferences after filling out a questionnaire. Grace said students are given the choice to pick options like gender, age, and major or say no preference, like she did.

“We’re required to meet with our mentee once a month, but the goal is to actually become friends and obviously meet more than that,” she said. “I can definitely say that has been the case for me. I consider him my friend now.”

Grace is paired with a student who is male, older than her, and in an entirely unrelated major. While the pair are exact opposites of each other, Grace has learned how to find common ground through their differences.

“The Cultural Ambassador Program has taught me that there is a beauty in our differences, and that they should be celebrated,” she said.

When Grace becomes a teacher, she knows she will be working with many students and families of all backgrounds. She is grateful for her opportunity as a Cultural Ambassador for showing her how to look at both the similarities and differences people have to create a better understanding of situations.

“Working with my student this past semester has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had so far here at ISU.”

Grace encourages any student who wants to expand their knowledge of other cultures to consider becoming a Cultural Ambassador.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Grace said. “Do it because it’s as much or as little as you want it to be. There are also so many benefits from learning a new culture to making a friend.”