VERMILLION, S.D. -- Two recent graduates of the University of South Dakota have received Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.
Angela Luedke,’13 B.A., and Christopher Zimmer, ’16 B.S, will be serving as English teaching assistants in Morocco and Greece, respectively.
They are two of more than 1,900 U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research and provide expertise abroad for the 2016-2017 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields. English teaching assistants spend 10 months in their assignments.
Luedke’s Fulbright experience will mark the second time she has lived in Morocco. The international studies and French major from Omaha, Nebraska, spent a semester studying abroad in the country during her junior year. Currently working in an Americorps agency in Omaha assisting low-income students in getting into and succeeding in college, Luedke said she applied for the Fulbright Scholarship at the advice of her elders.
“I’m taking a lot of adults’ advice to heart,” she said. “They always tell me to travel when you are young before you have real responsibilities. I’ve been trying to have different experiences before I settle down, and get a career and a family.”
Luedke’s passport already boasts numerous stamps from countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, but she is looking forward to returning to Morocco where she will teach in the university setting. “It’s such a welcoming country,” she said.
Zimmer, a history and political science major who also received his teaching certificate from USD, originally from Rapid City, South Dakota, has also spent some time in Greece, where he will teach English at a high school in Athens. Three years ago, he traveled to the country through a course led by Clayton Lehmann, professor of history at USD. Zimmer, who also studies secondary education, called on his varied academic courses and experiences when applying for his Fulbright award.
“I used my knowledge of Greece’s geopolitical situation as well as my interest in and experience teaching,” Zimmer said of his application. “I also know the language on a rudimentary level.” While he keeps up with news on the economic crisis in Greece, seeing the effects of budget cuts and austerity measures firsthand will be eye-opening, Zimmer said. “It will be interesting to the see the impacts on average Greeks living through the crisis.”
Luedke and Zimmer begin their assignments this September.