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Three Blugolds receive 2015-16 Fulbright U.S. Student awards

One University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire student and two recent Blugold graduates have been offered 2015-16 Fulbright U.S. Student awards for English teaching assistantships abroad. The award recipients who accept their awards will teach in their host countries from fall 2015 through spring 2016.

These recent awards bring to 19 the number of UW-Eau Claire Fulbright recipients since 2003. In fact, for the 10-year span between 2003 and 2013 (2013 being the most recent year for which data is available from the Fulbright Program), UW-Eau Claire has had more than double the number of Fulbright students at any other master's-level university in Wisconsin or Minnesota, said Cheryl Lochner-Wright, UW-Eau Claire's campus adviser for the U.S. Student Fulbright Program.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program of the United States, and recipients represent the U.S. as cultural ambassadors while they are overseas, helping to enhance mutual understanding between Americans and the people in their host country. There are more than 100,000 Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumni who have received grants since the program began in 1948.

The following individuals have applied through UW-Eau Claire and been offered Fulbright U.S. Student awards for 2015-16: 

  • Angela Koch, a senior art education major from Manitowoc, has been offered a Fulbright English teaching assistantship in Bulgaria.
  • Karlene Groshek, a 2011 UW-Eau Claire Spanish liberal arts graduate from Stevens Point, has been offered an English teaching assistantship in Turkey. 
  • Claire Lind, a December 2014 UW-Eau Claire elementary education graduate from Berlin, also has been offered an English teaching assistantship in Turkey.

Koch studied abroad in South Africa as a UW-Eau Claire undergraduate. In her Fulbright application, Koch expressed her interest in the Bulgaria program's opportunities to teach at the secondary level, and she noted that she will bring a unique set of teaching skills to the program with an emphasis in creative expression through art. Noting that she feels it will be important to be an integral part of the Bulgarian community, Koch is currently taking an online language course in Bulgarian.

When she returns to the U.S., Koch plans to teach visual arts in an inner-city community, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary learning. Longer term, she hopes to pursue a master's degree and become a school counselor, focusing on adolescent learners.

"Sharing my experiences in Bulgaria with future students will help me promote an understanding of cultural diversity and the importance of working towards an international community," Koch wrote. 

Groshek studied for a year in Murcia, Spain, as a UW-Eau Claire student. After graduation, she spent a year teaching English in South Korea, and then a year with Americorps in Portland, Maine, before beginning a master's degree program in teaching English as a second language at the School for International Training last fall.  

While doing her Fulbright teaching assistantship, Groshek plans to become a member of INGED, Turkey's national organization of teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) professionals. She also hopes to volunteer with an organization offering assistance to Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan immigrants. When she returns to the U.S., she plans to continue teaching English as a second language to international university students and immigrants of Middle Eastern origin.

"I hope to convey the impact of my Turkish experience to my community in the U.S. by giving presentations to local organizations and institutions," Groshek wrote in her Fulbright grant application. "After I have taught for a few more years, I would like to pursue doctoral studies in second language acquisition." 

Lind studied abroad in Turkey during her time at UW-Eau Claire. She also did a domestic intercultural immersion with Somali refugees in Minneapolis, conducted student-faculty research in Israel, and did student teaching in a Milwaukee public school with English language learners who spoke a total of more than 45 different languages in their home environments. She currently teaches in a native village in Alaska. 

"As a future teacher of English language learners, I will work with students from around the world," Lind wrote in her Fulbright application. "The Fulbright English teaching assistantship will help me to learn about another educational system and culture, while creating an impactful way to relate to my future students at home."

Lind also wrote that as a teacher following her Fulbright experience, she would work to encourage her students to attain higher education.

"I can build on the Fulbright experience to let my students know that a whole new world awaits them, and even if their parents cannot afford to pay for their education, there are ways to make it work for them," Lind wrote. 

The Fulbright program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

For more information, contact Cheryl Lochner-Wright in UW-Eau Claire's Center for International Education at  

Photo cutline: Angela Koch, one of three 2015-16 Fulbright U.S. Student award recipients from UW-Eau Claire, discusses surrealism with students in an art class at North High School in Eau Claire, where she is a student teacher. The Fulbright award is a teaching assistantship that will enable Koch, an art education major, to teach English in Bulgaria from fall 2015 through spring 2016.