College of Education alumnus Zach Zimmer ’08 has won a $6,000 grant to visit historic sites of Egypt and bring back lessons for his seventh grade students in Westfield, Ind.

A social studies teacher and baseball coach at Westfield Middle School, Zimmer was one of 15 winners selected in the Hilton HHonors Teacher Treks Travel Grant competition.

Thousands of U.S. and Puerto Rican teachers submitted essays for the competition, describing destinations they’d like to experience first-hand in order to enrich their curriculum and inspire students to explore the world. The public voted online during April to select the winning essays from 30 finalists’ submissions.

In his essay, Zimmer outlined his ideal trip to study and connect the history, geography, and culture of Egypt’s Nile River valley to his social studies curriculum:

“While in Cairo, I will visit mosques that connect to my world religions unit, such as the Mohamed Ali Mosque and the Mosque of Al-Azhar. Nearby, I will explore the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx, and the old ancient capital of Memphis. North in Alexandria, I will spend time visiting the Mediterranean coast and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, home to historic books and manuscripts.”

Visits to the Valley of the Kings and the tomb of King Tut at Luxor, and the Nubian Museum and Aswan Dam at Aswan, were also on Zimmer’s dream itinerary:

“Each winter, I teach a two-month unit on Ancient Egypt and nearby Nubia. The trip will allow me to explore the architecture and burial grounds of the civilizations and leaders that we study during the unit. Through pictures, videos, and notes, I will be able to bring history to life in my lessons when I return.

“Relating to the geography in my curriculum, I will explore a desert region that is non-existent in Indiana [and] the importance of rivers, like the Nile, to ancient civilization and the modern significance of dams, such as the Aswan Dam. My geography unit materials will improve significantly, and the science department of my school will be able to connect to my findings as well.”

 Winning teachers’ schools receive a $2,500 grant for cultural activities or enhancements.

 Zimmer plans to take his two-week trip to Egypt in early July and hopes to bring along his wife, Janell Callahan Zimmer ’09, a Butler College of Business graduate.

Hilton HHonors is the loyalty program for Hilton Worldwide’s 10 hotel brands. It developed Teacher Treks in partnership with the Institute of International Education, a world leader in the international exchange and administrator of the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship.

Media contact: Mary Ellen Stephenson
(317) 940-6944