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UW-Eau Claire Graduate to Study Abroad through Fulbright Program

RELEASED: June 29, 2006

Jenna Cushing-Leubner
Jenna Cushing-Leubner

EAU CLAIRE — Jenna Cushing-Leubner, Menomonie, a December 2005 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, will leave next week to begin the first part of a two-part Fulbright Award she was notified she had received this spring.

Cushing-Leubner, daughter of Joan Cushing and Chris Leubner, received a combination research and teaching grant for travel to Vienna, Austria, as well as a supplemental Fulbright Language Training Initiative grant to study Turkish, which is critical to the research she will conduct in Austria.

"I will be conducting a research project studying German language competency levels of Turkish immigrants in Vienna, specifically looking at language retention, depending on the length of time they've been living in Austria and the immediate cultural environments," said Cushing-Leubner. "I'll be focusing on first generation adult immigrants and their children."

Cushing-Leubner will also be a teaching assistant at a high school in Vienna for 12 hours each week. But prior to that assignment, which will run from the end of September through next June, she will spend approximately three months in Turkey learning Turkish.

Cheryl Lochner-Wright, a study abroad coordinator in UW-Eau Claire's Center for International Education, said that Cushing-Leubner has a passion for languages, noting that she studied abroad three times — in Austria, Germany and South Africa — as part of her undergraduate degree.

"Her research in Austria will put her right in the middle of current political, linguistic, and cultural changes taking place in the European Union," Lochner-Wright said.

"All in all, from the research to the teaching assistantship, everything I will be doing will be new to me at first," said Cushing-Leubner. "That's part of what makes it so exciting."

When she returns from her year of teaching and research, Cushing-Leubner plans to attend graduate school at the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa.

"Ultimately, I'd like to go on and teach at the University level or continue researching immigrant and minority populations," said Cushing-Leubner.

Cushing-Leubner is one of more than 1,200 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2006-07 academic year through the Fulbright Student Program. Established in 1946, the program operates in more than 150 countries with the aim of building mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the rest of the world. It is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, administered by the Institute of International Education, and is a highly competitive national award. With six Fulbright grant recipients since the year 2000, UW-Eau Claire has had more successful Fulbright applicants than any other UW-System master's level institution.

Further information is available on the U.S. Department of State Web site, or by contacting Heidi Manley, Office of Academic Exchange Program, (202) 453-8534 or academic@state.gov.

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NW

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