Twenty-two high school teachers from Eastern Europe and Central Asia met with Ohio Supreme Court Justice Melody J. Stewart recently to talk about the judiciary and openness in government.
The scholars from 11 countries are studying media literacy at Kent State University as part of the Fullbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program. It’s a six-week professional development program where teachers take seminars and observe professors and their students.
Justice Stewart walked the students through her career, starting with college.
“I got my undergraduate degree in music. With a name like Melody, what else would I study? “Justice Stewart joked. “My primary instrument was piano. After graduation, I took a job in health care. I managed a small health care company in Cleveland and I got intellectually bored. The vice president of the company, who was also in law school at the time, brought his law books into the office and I’d peek at them. Then, I decided to go to law school.”
From there, Justice Stewart practiced law, defending the city of Cleveland in lawsuits. She then became a law professor and assistant dean and spent 12 years on the Eighth District Court of Appeals. She was elected to the Ohio Supreme Court in November 2018 and took office Jan. 2, 2019.
“I’ve had a wonderful career practicing law, teaching law, and serving on the judiciary,” Justice Stewart said. “If I never do anything in law again in my life, it would be ok because it’s been a great ride.”
Students asked questions about cases involving the press, social media, and the dangers of misinformation.
“Media literacy is so important in the world today because of the threat of fake news, disinformation, and propaganda, “said Nadina Nicolici, a secondary teacher from Romania. “It was interesting to find out new things and have a clear idea of how things function here.”
The teachers will take the skills they learn at Kent State and practice them in their schools and communities back home.
By Anne Yeager | October 10, 2019