Alumna receives Fulbright for Indonesia study

Lindsay Graef
Lindsay Graef

Recent UNL graduate Lindsay Graef has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to go to Indonesia, where she will be an English teaching assistant. Graef, who majored in studio art at UNL, will be leaving her hometown of Lincoln for nine months this fall.

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 countries. About 8,000 grants are awarded each year and about 1,600 of those grants are awarded to U.S. students.

Graef’s award is the first announced Fulbright at UNL in 2013.

Throughout her career at UNL, in which she was a member of the University Honors Program, Graef took an interest in women’s studies as well as art and printmaking. Her interest in Indonesia was sparked while studying the Minangkabau, a matrifocal society in Western Sumatra, and their artwork, including the Ikat and Batiktextiles.

“My interest in Indonesia is women’s roles as community builders through cultural activities such as art and food, and how women are vital community builders through being cultural leaders,” Graef said.

She said she hopes that her assistantship will enable involvement in the community and cultural learning.

She said wants to extend her interactions beyond the English classroom to the community and gain insight into the culture through her art project, which focuses specifically on women and artists.

Graef’s aspirations to be involved with the Indonesian culture are rooted in her community role in Lincoln. She works as a produce manager at Open Harvest, a local natural foods cooperative, and volunteers at the Lincoln Bike Kitchen, a group that promotes and encourages people to bike more by providing free tools and services. She also tutors a Burmese woman in English at the Lincoln Literacy Council.

At UNL, Graef, who graduated in May 2012, and her classmates created collaborative mural art that can be seen at Everett and Clinton elementary schools. Graef’s other work can be seen at Friendship Home, where she and other artists created portraits of the women in the shelter.

Graef’s stay in Indonesia will not be her first time abroad. She spent a summer studying printmaking in Florence, Italy, with UNL’s Francisco Souto, associate professor of art and art history, and Karen Kunc, professor of art and art history. She also studied a month in Greece as part of an art history program with Michael Hoff, professor of art and art history.

Graef said those experiences gave a taste for travel that fueled her application for the Fulbright.

Souto said Graef’s work is rooted in a strong work ethic and a desire to create the best work possible.

“She has the persistence and conviction necessary to carry on a professional career,” Souto said. “Lindsay is one of those great individuals that knows what she needs, technically and conceptually and pushes her own comfort to accomplish greater goals.”

Throughout the Fulbright application process, Graef took advantage of the resources of the University Honors Program’s fellowships office, meeting with Laura Damuth, the university’s director of national and international fellowships, to work on her application.

“It was a pleasure working with Lindsey,” Damuth said. “Her hard work and passion for the subject helped the application process go smoothly. I wish her the best of luck on her travels to Indonesia.”

— Anna McTygue