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College of Liberal Arts boasts three student Fulbright recipients

By Kristina Kenney
University News Service
April 29, 2013

In an unprecedented first for the College of Liberal Arts at Texas State University, three of its students have been selected for Fulbright grants for the 2013-2014 school year.

Elliott Brandsma will travel to Iceland while Jack Mades and Emily Rothbauer will travel to Germany to represent the U.S. and Texas State as they teach and conduct research.

Valentina Glajar, campus Fulbright advisor and German program professor said that Texas State has had nine Fulbright grants overall, seven of those given since 2005.

“What’s amazing is that we’ve gotten three in one year, and they happen to be from the College of Liberal Arts,” said Glajar. “More so, two of these students are from the Department of Modern Languages and specifically from our small German program.”

Mades is one of these German students who will travel to Germany to teach English as part of his Fulbright grant. While at Texas State, he was the president of the German National Honor Society and a German program instructional assistant before graduating in May 2012 and joining the U.S. Marine Corps.

Rothbauer, a double major in German and English, will also travel to Germany this fall after she graduates from Texas State in August. She has also served as the president of the German National Honor Society.

Brandsma, a student in the honors college, received a research grant to Iceland. Glajar said Brandsma first came into her office three years ago to inquire about Fulbright Scholarships to Iceland and has been working on building his portfolio ever since.

Glajar noted what a huge achievement this news was for the faculty teaching German.

“It’s fantastic,” said Glajar. “I’m so proud of our program and our faculty because there’s only four of us, but we worked as a team. We’re either doing something well or Germany has enough money to fund these various grants.”

Being selected as a Fulbright Scholar is an extremely prestigious achievement and one that is highly competitive. Glajar said that as part of the application process, the students must write two essays, have three reference letters, preferably have a high GPA, complete a language evaluation form to ensure proficiency of the main language in the country to which they will travel and for the research grants, a student must have additional proof of their foreign affiliation with an institution in the country they will travel to. Students then have to go through an interview with the Texas State Fulbright Committee before being screened by the national committee. The host country ultimately makes the choice of which students will be selected.

The application process began for the students at the end of September and they were notified of their awards in March and April.

“These students brought the whole package to the application,” said Glajar. “Fulbrights aren’t for everyone; you have to want to go out there into the world and experience it, but you also have to have the academic qualifications and people who will support you.”

For more than 65 years, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, a division of the Institute of International Education, has served as the collaborating agency for the U.S. Department of State in administering the Fulbright Scholar Program. The worldwide success of the Fulbright Scholar Program has been built on the talent, commitment and professionalism of scholars who have served universities and research institutions in more than 155 countries.

For more information, please contact Valentina Glajar at (512) 245-3073 or by email at vg10@txstate.edu.