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Western Washington UniversityCommunications and Marketing
DATE: May 9, 2013 3:28:30 AM PDT
Eight Western Washington University Alumni, Students Awarded Fulbright Scholarships

Contact: Tom Moore, Western Washington University Fellowships Office, (360) 650-4074

BELLINGHAM –Western Washington University graduates and students have received eight prestigious Fulbright Scholarships this year, a record for the institution and more than doubling its previous best of three.

“This is an outstanding achievement and our congratulations to Western Fulbright award winners,” Western Provost Catherine Riordan said. “These students and alumni are testament to Western’s culture of academic excellence and success."

Last year, eight Fulbright Fellowships would have placed Western in the company of Dartmouth, New York University, Brandeis and Tufts. In 2012, no master’s granting university in the nation had more than six Fulbright Fellowship award winners.

“For many years I’ve thought that the best Western students could compete with anyone in the country,” said Tom Moore, director of Western’s Fellowship Office. “This Fulbright success confirms it.”   

The Fulbright Program is a prestigious international exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.  Fulbrights have enabled nearly 300,000 participants to travel abroad to study, teach, conduct research and exchange ideas to foster understanding between Americans and people of other countries.

Of the eight Western Fulbright award winners, four are majoring in or majored in German. Earlier this year, Western’s German program received a prestigious national honor, being one of two schools in the country to be designated a German Center of Excellence by the American Association of Teachers of German.

Western will be represented by Fulbright scholars in five countries: Germany, Romania, Brazil, Mexico and Austria.

The recipients of the Fulbright are Rebecca Donaldson (Marysville), Valeria Fisher (Bellingham), Elani Koogle (Bellingham), Matthew Osborne (Tacoma), Andrew Lapidus (Vancouver), Hannah Wolf (Juneau, Alaska), Ariel Morgan (Santa Fe, N.M.) and Olivia Mothershead (Kent).

Donaldson was awarded her Fulbright to be an English teaching assistant in Brazil from March to November, 2014. Her focus will be teaching university students English as a second language.  She is double majoring in Spanish and Linguistics at Western and will graduate in June.

Donaldson will also work with the Two Brothers Foundation, which helps provide education opportunities to citizens in Brazil’s low-income neighborhoods, known as favelas.

Fisher’s Fulbright will send her to Germany to help teach English. Fisher said she has not been assigned a school in Germany yet, so she could be teaching children in middle school or university students.  She will be in Germany from September through June 2014.

Fisher graduated from Western in March and double majored in Sociology and German.

She will also continue work on a project she started at Western about the glorification of reckless driving in car commercials.  Fisher plans to compare German car commercials to American ones.

Koogle, who graduated from Western in June 2012, will also teach English in Germany from September 2013 to June 2014.  Like Fisher, Koogle has not yet been told where she will be assigned. 

Outside of her teaching duties, she will translate Ivan Doig’s “The Whistling Season” from English to German.  Once she is done, she will share the translation with native German speakers to learn different techniques for translating literary works.

Osborne will travel to Hallein, Austria, and work to help students develop conversational English skills and to teach them about American culture.  He will be in Austria from September 2013 to May 2014.  Osborne will teach at a business-oriented technical high school and a college preparatory high school. 

He also plans on using the trip to help him perfect his German language skills and to learn more about Austrian culture.  Osborne graduated from Western with a self-designed major in Political Science and Music in 2010.  He is now a post-bachelor’s degree student majoring in German.

Lapidus will also head to Austria, but will be about 60 miles south of Osborne in the town of Spittal. Like Osborne, Lapidus will teach English as a Second Language in two public schools.  He will also use the trip to increase his German and language skills.

Lapidus is majoring in German at Western and will graduate in June.

Mothershead will also help teach in an Austrian high school as an English teaching assistant.  She’ll be leaving for Gmunden, Austria in October and will return May 2014.  While there, Motherhead said she hopes to improve her German and enjoy the snow-covered Alps.

She is double majoring in German and English Literature at Western and will graduate in June.

Wolf will be work with Romanian theatre artists, including directing, developing and translating new works with playwrights.

She will start her Fulbright program in October and will stay in Romania until June 2014. She will work at The National University of Theatre and Cinematography in Bucharest, Romania.

Wolf graduated from Western in 2009 and majored in Theatre Arts. 

Morgan will assist in teaching English in a university in Mexico, but she has not been told where in Mexico she will be placed yet.  She will leave in August and be there for about 10 months.

Morgan will also conduct interviews to learn about issues of migrancy and how it affects the culture and identity of the community she will be working in.

She graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree from Western’s Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies where her self-designed degree was titled “Bilingual America: History and Education in the Latino/a Community.”

Western's Fellowships Office advises students who are interested in applying for nationally competitive scholarships.  It provides information about available scholarships, helps students identify opportunities that match their backgrounds and career goals, and assists students in the preparation of their applications.  The office also has information about internships and research opportunities for high achieving students.

For more information, contact Tom Moore at Western’s Fellowships Office at (360) 650-4074 or go to http://www.wwu.edu/fellowships/about.shtml.

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