Ninth student Fulbright headed to Romania

Stephanie Herzog
Stephanie Herzog

Stephanie Herzog, a master's degree candidate, has received a Fulbright Scholarship and will travel to Romania for a year to teach English and do educational advising at a Romanian university. The Louisville, Ky., native will graduate this year and then travel to Romania to pursue her interests in international higher education and English instruction.

Herzog spent a short-term summer session studying abroad in England through Clemson University. The course was aimed at comparing student affairs in England with student affairs in the United States. She said the trip helped her understand higher education goals, structures and concerns in another country.

"It was a wonderful chance for me to experience international affairs through discussions with administrators at universities such as Cambridge, Oxford and Bath," she said.

Herzog is a graduate assistant with the William H. Thompson Scholars Learning Community, composed of students who have received scholarships from the Susan T. Buffett Foundation. She said the job has had a large impact on both her personal and professional growth.

"Learning information about student affairs in the classroom is one thing," she said, "but getting to live it every day is another."

After finishing her master's degree in higher education administration with a concentration in student affairs, Herzog said she hopes to continue working as a higher education administrator, using knowledge she will gain from her time in Romania.

"Stephanie Herzog is an exceptionally self-motivated and serious student," said Rachelle Winkle-Wagner, an assistant professor in educational administration. "She has a rare dedication to learning and to acquiring knowledge and skills so that she can travel internationally."

In Romania, Herzog said she hopes to talk with Romanian administrators to discuss difficulties faced by both the U.S. and Romanian higher education systems, such as making higher education more accessible and working to improve postsecondary education while facing shrinking budgets.

The higher education system in Romania has many universities committed to internationalization, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Herzog said she is excited to become involved in the higher education system in Romania and said she is honored to be offered the opportunity to contribute to their globalization efforts.

"I hope that being a Fulbright English teaching assistant in Romania will allow me to exchange knowledge with Romanian higher education administrators and faculty so that we could work together to find solutions and make progress," Herzog 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.

Herzog's Fulbright is the ninth this year at UNL, and ties the university's record set in 2011. Fellowship adviser Laura Damuth said two more student Fulbrights are possible.

"Two alternates, Rebecca Bonnett and Suzanne Higgins, are awaiting word on their candidacy," Damuth said. "If we were to receive any more Fulbrights, it would be one or both of these two. We're thrilled at the number of awards this year. These are a talented and hard-working group of students."

In 2011, UNL was named by the Fulbright Program as one of 45 "top producing" research institutions whose students were awarded Fulbrights.

— Haley Whisennand, Honors Program