Back to:
Current year's news releases

All news releases
News and information home

Student receives Fulbright teaching assistantship from Germany

RELEASED: May 11, 2010

Chris Dierich
Chris Dierich

EAU CLAIRE — A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire student has received an English language teaching assistantship under the U.S. Student Fulbright program.

Senior Chris Dierich, Menomonie, is pursuing a double major in philosophy and German and a minor in history. He will spend nine months in the North Rhine-Westphalia area of Germany working with students beginning in September under the German Fulbright Commission and the German Teaching Exchange Service.

Dierich said he started out with a minor in German, but after a 2008 trip to Lutherstadt Wittenberg in eastern Germany through the UW-Eau Claire study abroad program, he changed it to a major.

"Being there really increased my interest," he said. "We gained intensive training in language and culture. I probably learned the most from my host family. They are living sources of history. It was interesting to hear first-hand stories about the events and regions we studied."

Dierich is looking forward to meeting younger people in Germany because they may offer a different perspective. They also may share his interest in punk rock.

Since punk rock has been a "large part of who I am," Dierich said he expanded on his project proposal to create a series of three multimedia presentations for his required Fulbright project.

"It was on the history of punk as I knew it. Many people don't know this subculture exists," said Dierich, who was the lead singer for a band he formed during his sophomore year in high school. "We took it very seriously and the band took off. We recorded a 7-inch record and a CD, and we toured.

His travels through the United States and Canada playing clubs and American Legion Halls put him in the company of musicians from Israel, Germany and Sweden, among others. This early cultural exchange gave him insight that benefited his studies.

"It's always been a pleasure to have Chris in my classes," said Dr. Irene Lazda, associate professor of German. "Chris's presence guarantees that questions will probe beyond the obvious to spark a productive discussion. It is his genuine intellectual curiosity and sense of humor that make Chris a welcome presence in any academic or social environment."

Dr. Kristin Schaupp, assistant professor of philosophy and religious studies, met Dierich when he took one of her upper-level epistemology courses. She also worked with him on a faculty-student collaborative research project for the past three summers.

"Conducting research for a long-term project in philosophy requires intellectual curiosity, motivation, reliability, enthusiasm and perseverance. Chris has all of these traits," said Schaupp.

"Chris is a student who seeks out and embraces challenges. He holds his own work to rigorous standards, while retaining a modest and realistic attitude. His successful application to the Fulbright program stems in part from his academic success as well as from his broad but genuine interest in ideas, people and cultures."

Teaching high school is not what Dierich plans to do in the future, but he values the experience he will gain during the assistantship. His sights are set on teaching at the college level, working in academia as a historian. His research interest is East Central Europe in particular.

"Being in the classroom and meeting German teachers will be a great and valuable experience no matter what I do," he said.

Lazda said Dierich will not be the only one to gain from his work abroad.

"The Fulbright program is lucky to have him as a participant. The depth and width of his academic and life experience will enrich those who meet him," she said.

For more information, contact Chris Dierich at diericca@uwec.edu or Cheryl Lochner-Wright, campus Fulbright adviser in the Center for International Education, at lochnecb@uwec.edu.

-30-

RD/DW

Back to:
Current year's news releases

All news releases
News and information home

 

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.