University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

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UW-Eau Claire Senior Earns
Prestigious Fulbright Scholarship


 MAILED:  May 15, 2003

EAU CLAIRE - A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire senior biology major is the recipient of a 2003-04 Fulbright Scholarship.

The prestigious award will allow William "Chris" Lamanna to study microbiology and conduct research in Germany for a year, beginning in August.

"I applied never expecting that I would get it," Lamanna, Stillwater, Minn., said of the Fulbright. "They notified me that I was a recipient through e-mail and I almost didn't open the message. I thought it was junk mail. I opened it a day later and I just stared at the screen. I couldn't believe it. I was speechless."

The Fulbright will pay for Lamanna's travel to and from Germany, pay his educational expenses, provide him with a monthly stipend and health insurance, pay for him to attend conferences with other Fulbright winners and provide a variety of other benefits during his yearlong fellowship.

"This is a very, very prestigious award," Dr. Daniel Janik, associate professor of biology, said of the Fulbright award. "It's extremely competitive. I'm thrilled that Chris stood out among what I'm sure were thousands of other exceptional student applicants."

Typically, more than 4,500 students apply for the approximately 1,000 fellowships awarded to students each year.

As a Fulbright Scholar, Lamanna, a biology major and a German minor who will graduate from UW-Eau Claire May 17, will spend a year studying microbiology and conducting research at the University of Goettingen. He will participate in advanced microbiology courses, including a research course that will meet 26 hours a week.

"My dream of becoming a professor depends on my research experience and my ability to share my knowledge and perspectives," said Lamanna, noting that Germany is a leader in biological research. "Studying in Germany will give me the knowledge, research opportunities and contacts to become an asset to my field."

Lamanna, who hopes to one day be a university professor, said spending a year at a prestigious German university will enhance his teaching in the future.

"Participating in two very different educational systems will give me a unique perspective as an educator, and will help promote international exchange, which is the key to progress and advancement in science today," Lamanna said.

Lamanna first visited Germany while a high school student. During that trip, he met distant German relatives but was unable to communicate well with them because of the language barrier. The visit motivated Lamanna to learn German.

In 2001, Lamanna spent four months in Wittenberg, Germany, as part of UW-Eau Claire's study abroad program. He returned to Wittenberg in 2002 for seven months to take advanced grammar courses and to prepare for a language examination that is required of students wishing to study at a German university.

"After passing the exam, I traveled to southern Germany again to visit my relatives, this time able to speak with them and renew a family link that had been lost for years," he said.

Lamanna's international experience, his strong language skills and his yearlong student-faculty microbiology research project working with Dr. Sasha Showsh, assistant professor of biology at UW-Eau Claire, provided him with an interesting mix of experiences and knowledge that strengthened his Fulbright application, Janik said.

"Chris is one of the best examples I know of a student who has embraced the academic experience available to him and has taken advantage of so many of the things it has to offer," said Janik, Lamanna's academic adviser for almost four years. "As a result, he has shown an exceptional level of intellectual and personal growth."

Congress established the Fulbright Program in 1946 to demonstrate the United State's commitment to democratic values worldwide. It's goals are to increase understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchange; strengthen U.S. ties with other nations; promote international cooperation; and to assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations between the United States and the other countries.
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JB


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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
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Updated: May 15, 2003