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Two Blugolds selected for 2024-25 Fulbright awards

Photo caption: Blugold Zachary May will be returning to Argentina, where he was part of a faculty-led international immersion experience, to participate in an English teaching assistantship through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Immersing themselves in the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s international travel opportunities expanded the worldview of two Blugolds who have been selected for 2024-25 Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards, the recipients say.

Zachary May, who graduated in December 2023, will participate in an English teaching assistantship in Argentina, while May 2023 graduate Anna Wendorff will be an English teaching assistant in South Korea.

Colleen Marchwick, director, Center for International Education

Colleen Marchwick, director, Center for International Education

UW-Eau Claire’s combination of strong academic programs and experiential learning helps prepare students to “build the knowledge and skills to become a successful Fulbright applicant,” says Colleen Marchwick, director of UW-Eau Claire’s Center for International Education.

“The high-impact experiences at UWEC create spaces where students can put into practice their academic learning and challenge themselves to grow personally,” Marchwick says. “This combination allows students to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to thrive, whether the student is pursuing Fulbright, grad school or entering the workforce.”

UW-Eau Claire is consistently among the top master’s universities in the nation for the number of students who receive Fulbright grants.

Six Blugolds applied for Fulbright awards for 2024-25, with five becoming semifinalists. Madalyn McCabe of New Berlin, who graduated in May 2023 with a degree in social studies education, is an alternate for an English teaching assistantship in Luxembourg. 

May, of Lake Geneva, graduated in December 2023 with a double major in Spanish liberal arts and Latin American studies, minors in interdisciplinary linguistics and organizational communication, and a certificate in Teaching English as a foreign language. He credits the Spanish department, Latin American and Latinx studies department, CIE and the McNair Program for preparing him for the Fulbright experience.

“It really highlights the importance of interdisciplinary degrees, high-impact practices and pushing yourself to do your best at all times,” May says of the Fulbright award. “Through both the Spanish and LAS departments I was able to better understand the importance of learning another language and another culture because that allows you to appreciate the world in so many new ways.”

May will be returning to Argentina, where he was part of a faculty-led international immersion experience in Mendoza, where he also did his TEFL internship. May also studied abroad in Chile and calls his South American experiences “huge milestones in my life.”

“I grew a lot not only academically, but as a person as well,” May says of his international experiences. “Anyone I’ve talked to can confirm that I almost always talk about my experiences abroad. I cannot emphasize enough how impactful and amazing it was for me.”

May’s future goals include earning a master’s degree in international and comparative education to learn more about educational policies at the local, national and global levels.

Wendorff, of Stillwater, Minnesota, graduated in May 2023 with a double major in English, rhetorics of science, technology and culture emphasis, and organizational communication. Wendorff says she appreciates the support of her family, friends and faculty members who “saw something in me when I doubted myself.”

“Being a Fulbright recipient ignites the deepest parts of my soul,” Wendorff says. “It aligns with long-held wholehearted wishes. My dream was to live abroad. And then my lifelong enduring love is English. To accomplish this at 23 is something indescribable.”

Anna Wendorff, Fulbright recipient

May 2023 graduate Anna Wendorff will be an English teaching assistant in South Korea through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Wendorff says faculty in the UW-Eau Claire’s communication and journalism department provide her with a “culture of free-flowing support,” singling out Dr. Kris Knutson, department chair and associate professor of communication and journalism, who allowed students to pursue research projects they were interested in.

Research was at the core of Wendorff’s experiences at UW-Eau Claire, giving her an opportunity to learn more about the world. She presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, including a presentation on news coverage of the North Korean missile crisis that piqued her interest in South Korea.

As a photography enthusiast, she is interested in exploring the geography of the Asian country and looks forward to shooting photos of the coasts and mountains of South Korea. She also plans to learn more about South Korean cooking from her host family.

Wendorff looks forward to seeing her classroom in South Korea and working with her students.

“There's a lot that I can teach but also learn from my students as well,” Wendorff says. “And that's what is so beautiful about the Fulbright program: the enduring cultural exchange and ambassadorship.”

Wendorff plans to complete a Ph.D. in English and earn a law degree, combining her academic passions.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program application cycle is now open. Students may contact Colleen Marchwick or Anna Dresnack in the CIE for more information.