Carlson awarded prestigious Fulbright grant

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
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2012-04-24 13:59:39 - General

Coe College senior Nina Carlson has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship grant. The Fulbright award will allow Carlson to teach in Germany during the 2012-13 academic year.

Carlson will graduate on May 6 with majors in German and English.  While at Coe, she has served as the international speaking coordinator at the Coe Speaking Center and as a German tutor.  She is also a member of German Club, Mortar Board and the conversation partner program with Japanese exchange students.  Carlson will be graduating as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

During high school, Carlson spent a semester abroad in Germany, and it served to whet her appetite for the German culture.

“Besides learning the language and about the culture, I was charmed by the kindness and patience of the German people,” said Carlson.  “The semester ended much too quickly, and left me with an unquenchable desire to return.”

Carlson did return as a junior at Coe and spent a year in Landau.  On this second study-abroad experience, Carlson knew Germany had a place in her future.  The experience spurred her to get in contact with past Fulbright scholars and English Professor Ann Struthers, who serves as the Fulbright advisor for the college.

“The Fulbright has given me the opportunity to combine two of my passions – my desire to work with students and my fascination with German culture – and use my experiences to positively influence German students’ views of America,” said Carlson.  “My experiences at Coe laid down the foundation for my growing passion for mentoring and teaching students.  Everything I wanted to do was exactly what the Fulbright award offered.”

As a teaching assistant, Carlson will be aiding English teachers in teaching American culture and the English language.

“I want to serve as an example that dispels exaggerated American stereotypes, and to do that I need to make personal connections with people,” noted Carlson.  “I want to share my individual experiences from growing up in central Iowa, thus demonstrating that each American is distinctive.”

Carlson plans to form conversation groups with German students and is planning activities such as cooking typical Midwestern foods, watching the Presidential elections, and sharing her knowledge of agriculture, college culture and American sports.

“I recognize that Germany is not a monolithic entity, but is built up of many unique communities, exactly like the U.S.,” said Carlson.  I want to stress that similarity between the two places and experience their local culture, as I show them mine.”

After spending a couple of years in Germany, working and gaining practical experience in teaching English, Carlson would like to study teaching English to speakers of other languages in graduate school.  Her eventual career goal is to live in Germany teaching English or serving as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and working with exchange students.

During the application process, Carlson received guidance from Struthers, as well as German Professor John Chaimov, English Professor Patrick Naick, and English Professor Melissa Sodeman.  A native of Ames, Iowa, Nina is the daughter of Allen and Jean Carlson.

Established in 1946 and sponsored by the United States Department of State, the Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between Americans and the peoples of other countries, through the exchange of persons, knowledge and skills. The Fulbright Program is the largest international exchange program, providing funding for students, scholars and professionals to undertake graduate study, advanced research and teaching.  The Fulbright U.S. Student Program sends approximately 1,500 students per year to more than 140 countries.