immersed in language AND inspired by science

| Judy Berthiaume

Lara Steinike came to UW-Eau Claire with aspirations of studying neuroscience but her passion for the German language soon had her rethinking her career goals. Fortunately for Lara, as a Blugold she was encouraged to nurture her love for languages and teaching, as well as her interest in science.

Lara, who graduated in December 2015 with a German education major and a biology minor, looks forward to teaching a language that she loves, while also sharing the lessons of cultural understanding and tolerance that come along with it. While she majored in German education, her biology minor added great value to her UW-Eau Claire experience, giving her a more analytical perspective through which she learns and teaches languages.

Lara’s studies focused on two very different academic areas, but both were in departments filled with extraordinary professors who encouraged her to pursue her dual interests. Professors helped her make important connections between languages and science, which broadened her thinking and strengthened her abilities in each area.

A highlight of her undergraduate career was studying abroad in Kassel, Germany, where she was immersed in the German language and culture. Before her semester abroad was done, she already made returning to Germany a goal, one it didn’t take her long to achieve. As one of UW-Eau Claire’s newest Fulbright Scholars, Lara will return to Germany this summer as an English teaching assistant. When the prestigious yearlong Fulbright teaching appointment comes to an end, she plans to attend a German university to pursue a master’s degree in teaching German as a foreign language.

While her immediate focus is on teaching, her interest in science continues to be strong. She hopes to find a way to weave biology into her master’s program, potentially through research. Someday she’d like to work with a neuroscientist to study the interaction between learning a second language and the brain. As she begins her next adventure in Germany, Lara Steinike is looking forward to being immersed in a language she loves AND to being inspired by the science that fascinates her … and that’s pretty powerful!