Hughes awarded prestigious Fulbright grant

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
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2012-04-24 14:39:33 - General

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

Hughes will graduate on May 6 with majors in German and English.  While at Coe, she has been involved in German Club, Concert Band, the lunch buddy program at Polk Elementary School, and Big Brothers, Big Sisters.  In addition, she served as the editor of Babel – the bilingual journal of foreign-language poetry, as an on-campus German tutor, and a tutor at the Catherine McAuley Center.  Hughes also participated in study abroad to Landau, Germany.

The Coe student first became interested in learning German after close family friends invited her to Hamburg for the summer when she was 14.

“The friendship between our families began in the 1970s when my grandparents hosted a native Berliner through an adult exchange program,” explained Hughes.  “I cannot imagine the subsequent progression of my interests and goals in life had my grandparents not been interested in traveling and getting to know people from other countries.”

When she came to Coe and learned about the Fulbright program possibilities, Hughes was immediately interested.

“Professor Ann Struthers (Coe Fulbright advisor) spoke to my honors class in the spring of my sophomore year about the Fulbright program,” said Hughes.  “I knew of the research portion of the Fulbright, but it was my first time hearing about the English teaching assistantship.  I was immediately intrigued by the possibility of combining my love for English and German by teaching abroad.”

In Germany, Hughes will be spending a minimum of 12 hours per week in the classroom, helping various English teachers with their lessons and engaging students in general discussions about the United States.  She also hopes to take a university class or two, volunteer at a woman’s shelter or immigrant center, and start a discussion group to meet on a weekly basis to practice conversation in both German and English.

Hughes is looking forward to the opportunity to further immerse herself in German language and culture.

“I’ve found that teaching your native language helps you see it in a brand new light and clarifies concepts in grammar and syntax that are usually taken for granted,” noted Hughes.  “Living alone in a foreign country also challenges you to become more self-sufficient and resilient, as you constantly encounter new and difficult situations.

Hughes is interested in pursuing a career in speech language pathology.  Although still exploring her options before going to graduate school, she believes that becoming a speech language pathologist would appeal to her interests in teaching and language.

German Professor John Chaimov, English Professor Melissa Sodeman and English Professor Gordon Mennenga were all instrumental in helping her during the Fulbright application process.

“Of course, a large thanks goes to Professor Ann Struthers, who has guided me along the application process,” said Hughes.

Martha is the daughter of James Hughes and Mary Herman-Hughes of Albuquerque, N.M.

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.