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Bee Bilingual: Expanding Early Language Learning

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A child studies another language with headphones

From small town Amherst, New Hampshire, Elizabeth Black, SIS/BA ’09, is making a global impact through her social enterprise, Bee Bilingual, an engaging, affordable online Spanish instruction program for K-5 students. From her time working in the DC Public School system, Elizabeth noticed that there was a gap between students’ eagerness to learn and the schools’ limited resources for language instruction. In late 2017, she and her brother Phil created Bee Bilingual to do their part in closing that gap.

While at AU, Elizabeth volunteered with DC Reads, held a summer job teaching in DC, and, post-graduation, spent a year teaching in southern China, where she realized her passion for international education. After returning from China, she obtained her Master of Arts in Teaching and teaching license from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tenn. These experiences allowed her to develop Bee Bilingual’s proprietary, standards-aligned curriculum and train a team of native Spanish speaking teachers to offer this quality education to students everywhere. 

During her time at AU, Elizabeth was also able to participate in many community service opportunities, including serving in the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity all four years. Her involvement with so many service-oriented clubs and activities inspired a strong sense of activism and social justice that she carries with her today and helped inspire her creation of this program.

Today, Elizabeth works as a program manager at Global Ties US, working with their online learning and digital initiatives, while still maintaining time and energy to commit towards running and improving Bee Bilingual. With her team, she is also considering ways to offer curriculum to students in schools that don’t have the technology or stable Wi-Fi connections currently required. For Elizabeth, increasing access to early language learning has been one of the most rewarding aspects of her work, so it’s worth the time on top of her full-time job to make this happen.

When asked for one piece of advice she wished she had heard as a student, Elizabeth responded, “If you see a problem in your community, you do have the ability to create or do something that sparks change. If not you, then who?” She is living that advice and is inspiring others to do the same.