Hoffman selected for Fulbright to teach in South Korea

Alanna Hoffman
Alanna Hoffman

Alanna Hoffman, an international studies major, has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright scholarship. The San Diego native will travel to South Korea with her Fulbright to teach English for a year.

Traveling abroad is nothing new to Hoffman, who has completed three separate study abroad semesters to Costa Rica, Taiwan and Japan. She spent the summer of 2011 in Taiwan participating in a Mandarin language immersion program and serving as an ambassador for Nebraska in the Taiwan-United States Sister Relations Alliance Summer Scholarship Program. She spent the ensuing fall semester studying in Japan.

"I cannot diminish the importance studying abroad has had on my education," Hoffman said. "I have learned about other cultures, discovered new passions and felt inspired to continually challenge myself."

She also traveled to El Salvador in summer 2009, where she volunteered with an international development organization. The experience gave her with a firsthand look at life in a developing country. She built lasting friendships with the community while she was there, as well as had the opportunity to study texts on global justice and sustainable development.

After graduating this May, Hoffman plans to attend graduate school to study East Asian studies and further develop her language proficiencies.

"Alanna is that rare combination of intelligence, curiosity and perseverance," said Ross Miller, a UNL political science professor. "I am truly amazed at her courage and independence."

Hoffman, who has academic minors in Japanese and Spanish, completed her second year of her UCARE undergraduate research project last year, with the help of Miller. She examined higher and lower level processing strategies for students learning a second language.

Along with this extensive research project, she also volunteered at the Asian Cultural Center in Lincoln and the Lincoln Literacy Council, worked as a bilingual storytime reader at Indigo Bridge Book Store, and delivered meals as a volunteer through the Meals on Wheels program.

On campus, she is a member of Phi Beta Delta honor society, an officer for Tau Sigma honor society and a member of the Dean's Scholars Society. She works as a student ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences and is a member of the campus organizations Global Friends of Japan and Hillel.

"I cannot think of a better ambassador for UNL," Miller said.

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 the 155 countries that the program operates. The Fulbright program is the flagship international education program sponsored by the U.S. government. About 8,000 grants are awarded annually, and about 1,600 of those grants are awarded to U.S. students. This is the fourth UNL student Fulbright announced this spring.

— Haley Whisennand, Honors Program