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English Ph.D. student receives Fulbright to research in Hungary

Daniel Nyikos, a third-year graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Hungary for the 2013-14 academic year. (Greg Nathan / University Communications
Daniel Nyikos, a third-year graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Hungary for the 2013-14 academic year. (Greg Nathan / University Communications

Daniel Nyikos, a third-year graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Hungary for the 2013-14 academic year.

Nyikos is earning a Ph.D. in English with a creative writing focus and his time in Hungary will be spent working on his dissertation, which is a novel set in the country.

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.

Raised in a military family, Nyikos spent most of his childhood in classrooms across the country and in the Netherlands. Because both his parents spoke Hungarian in their home, he is comfortable with the language he will be using for the next nine months.

He graduated from Utah State with an English degree and came to UNL to pursue his graduate degree. He cites three UNL Department of English faculty, Jonis Agee, Judith Slater, and Roland Végső, as personal influences while he earns his Ph.D.

“(Nyikos) is an excellent and conscientious scholar. He is proposing a project that is relevant from the perspective of both contemporary American and Hungarian cultures, as well as Hungarian-American relations,” Vegso, assistant professor of English, said. “His command of the Hungarian language and his familiarity with Hungarian culture are more than just excellent.

“Finally, his personality recommends him as an outstanding ambassador for the United States.”

For his dissertation, Nyikos is writing a novel that will incorporate his Hungarian research. He believes that much of the conflict and damage that occurred during World War II and the Communist Bloc has remained as a ghost in Hungary and the surrounding countries.

Through his literature, he hopes to draw attention away from the hurt of the past and bring light to the beauty of daily life in Hungary.

“Our generation is at a time when we have to find a way to move forward- past what happened behind the Iron Curtain,” Nyikos said. “Much of the literature that comes from that part of the world focuses on the ‘victim narrative,’ and I don’t like that. So I’d like to tell people’s stories in a way that focuses on the individual and everyday life.”

Nyikos is looking forward to traveling to Hungary through the Fulbright program and said he was thankful for all the assistance he received from the UNL Fellowships Office.

Laura Damuth, Fulbright Program Advisor added: “Daniel was an outstanding candidate for a creative and performing arts Fulbright.

“I am so pleased that he earned this opportunity to return to Hungary to work on his novel.”

Nyikos is the fifth UNL student awarded a Fulbright for the 2013-2014 academic year. Others include:

-- Amy Millspaugh, a graduate student in German and education, will teach English in Germany. Read more about Millspaugh at http://go.unl.edu/8nk.

-- 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://go.unl.edu/suc.

-- 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