University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

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UW-Eau Claire Student Wins Study Abroad
Scholarship from German Academic Exchange Service

 MAILED:  May 16, 2003

EAU CLAIRE - A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire student has been awarded a DAAD study abroad scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service.

John T. Lyon, son of James and Karen Lyon of Antigo, will spend the 2003-04 academic year studying at Phillips University in Marburg, Germany. Currently a sophomore with a double major in business administration and German, Lyon applied for the scholarship in November 2002 after being encouraged by his German language adviser, assistant professor Dr. Jefford Vahlbusch.

"It is a great honor for me to receive this scholarship," said Lyon. "I believe it also reflects the talent in the German section of the department of foreign languages and the quality of education at UW-Eau Claire."

Lyon knew he wanted to return to Germany after spending one year in Hannover as a high school Rotary exchange student. He will be the first student from UW-Eau Claire to do so through the Hessen-Wisconsin Exchange, which allows students in the UW system to visit one of 10 universities in the German state of Hessen, and students at Hessen's universities to visit any campus in the UW system. The DAAD scholarship, which will amount to around $8,000, pays for between four and 10 months of study either as part of an individualized student-designed study abroad semester or year, or as part of an organized study abroad program like the Hessen-Wisconsin Exchange.

The scholarships are competitive, and recipients, selected by an independent selection committee, must have an outstanding academic record as well as a convincing and feasible project proposal or statement of purpose that includes an interest in contemporary German and European affairs. Lyon submitted an essay that spoke of his earlier experience as an exchange student and his desire to build upon the foundation of knowledge of German language, customs and culture he laid at that time, as well as his interest in learning more about the differences between German and American methods of teaching.

Vahlbusch said he enthusiastically recommended Lyon for the DAAD scholarship "because he is a hard-working, intellectually and linguistically talented student who will benefit immensely from a year of study in Germany."

"What is most apparent about John in a classroom is his intellectual curiosity and his focus," wrote Vahlbusch in his letter of recommendation. "In linguistic ability, cultural fluency, intelligence, and aptitude for better and deeper learning, John Lyon certainly belongs among our top students."

Lyon is thinking about two possible career goals. He says he can see himself working for a company or financial institution with ties to Germany. But since he's been working as a course assistant for Vahlbusch and other professors, and several have indicated they think he would make a good professor of German, he also has begun thinking about the possibility of a career in the classroom.

"A year abroad opens up the possibility of making contacts that may be helpful in future research and of alerting me to the types of materials available for research," wrote Lyon in his scholarship proposal letter.

He also said that one of his other German professors, Dr. Johannes Strohschänk, helped him develop an awareness of German affairs by encouraging students to bring to class and discuss news items related to Germany. Lyon demonstrated this awareness in his proposal letter by mentioning his interest in the economic and psychological after effects of last year's devastating floods in regions of central Europe, as well as his desire to see some of the more recent political events involving Iraq from more than just an American point of view.

"I hope it (the year abroad) will provide me with the skills to form my own opinions on world issues," wrote Lyon.

Strohschänk reported that Lyon also recently earned the highest grade at UW-Eau Claire on the international business German examination, "Deutsch fuer den Beruf."
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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
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Updated: May 16, 2003