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UNL graduate student wins a Fulbright to Germany

Amy Millspaugh will teach English in Germany as part of her Fulbright Scholarship. (Greg Nathan / University Communications)
Amy Millspaugh will teach English in Germany as part of her Fulbright Scholarship. (Greg Nathan / University Communications)

Amy Millspaugh, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate student, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Germany.

She is earning masters’ degrees in German and education at UNL and will leave in the fall to travel to Germany to begin a nine-month English teaching assistantship.

The Fulbright Program, established in 1946 and funded by the U.S. Department of State, is designed to foster understanding between the United States and other countries. The U.S. Student Fulbright program gives recent graduates, graduate students and young professionals the opportunity to conduct research, study or teach in one of 155 designated countries. About 8,000 grants are awarded annually, and about 1,600 of those grants are awarded to U.S. students.

Originally from Appleton, Wis., Millspaugh came to UNL to study dance but discovered her passion was the German language. She graduated in December 2011 with a triple major in German, English, and Education.

Millspaugh has been active outside of the classroom. She was stage and production manager for the dance department and hosted conversation tables and other events with the UNL German Club. As a graduate student, she is secretary and social chair of the modern languages Graduate Student Association. She is also a teaching assistant for a beginning-level German class.

Millspaugh diligently worked on her Fulbright application during the fall 2012 with the help of Laura Damuth, UNL’s Fulbright Program advisor.

“Amy is really the ideal candidate for the English Teaching Assistantship to Germany. She has experience teaching language, wants to become more proficient in German herself, and plans to be a teacher of German,” Damuth said.

Millspaugh also proposed to conduct research concerning non-native German speakers in schools. She hopes to shadow students and see firsthand how they learn the language and are assimilated into the educational system.

Millspaugh said she looks forward to returning to Germany. In her sophomore year she traveled to Berlin to study German for six and a half months through the university’s Deutsch in Deutschland program.

“I actually got to experience the culture first hand because I had never been there before. Reading about it and then actually living there with a host family is an entirely different experience,” she said.

In addition to improving her language skills, Millspaugh said her time abroad helped her grow personally: “It was a great confidence boost that I could go out and live abroad by myself and be able to support myself. Even figuring out how to get around by train, made me realize I could count on myself.”

Millspaugh credited Priscilla Hayden-Roy, professor of German, with influencing her to pursue a double masters in Education and German as well as encouraging her to apply for the Fulbright.

“For people wanting to become a teacher of German, the combination of UNL's Berlin program with the undergraduate major, the double-major masters, and the Fulbright, is a dynamite package,” Hayden-Roy said. “Amy already has the makings of an outstanding German teacher, and after the year in Germany she will be truly exceptional.”

Millspaugh’s Fulbright is the fourth awarded to UNL students this spring. Others include:

-- Tim Wilkins, a senior music major, will travel to Bulgaria for an English teaching assistantship after he graduates in May. Read more about Wilkins at http://bit.ly/16S4VUn.

-- Samantha Marcoux, a global studies major with minors in East Asian studies and Spanish, will study and teach English in South Korea for the 2013-14 academic year. Read more about Marcoux at http://go.unl.edu/qbu.

-- Recent UNL graduate Lindsay Graef was awarded a Fulbright to go to Indonesia, where she will be an English teaching assistant. Graef majored in studio art at UNL. Read more about Graef at http://go.unl.edu/h32.

-- By Anna McTygue