Garner wins Fulbright award, headed to Germany

Alyx Dodds Garner
Alyx Dodds Garner

Senior Alyx Dodds Garner of Wichita, Kan. will use her newly awarded Fulbright Scholarship to return to Germany where she spent three years during her childhood and held a summer internship. Her focus will be helping teach English at a German middle school and leading an economics club.

Garner, a German and economics major, will graduate UNL in May before traveling to Germany in mid-August. She is excited to help the students improve their understanding of the English language, both written and spoken.

"I am really excited to share my love of learning and languages with them," she said.

Garner has been interested in learning German since she was about 4 and her dad was stationed in Noervenich, Germany. She lived there for three years. In summer 2009, Garner interned for a small business that sells photo wallpapers and canvas prints in small town outside of Frankfurt.

Having co-workers who spoke little English forced Garner to improve her German-speaking skills.

"I learned through hands-on experience what the real world is like -- that's something that is virtually impossible to learn at a university," she said. Garner is excited to return to Germany to experience the culture, even though she expects a few challenges.

"I know that it won't be easy, and that some days will probably be incredibly frustrating," she said. "But I also know that it will be one of the greatest learning experiences I ever have." This time, however, Garner will be teaching others what she knows. "I won't be sitting at a desk just answering phones or translating a website -- I will be doing hands-on work that will require a great amount of preparation and planning," she said.

Priscilla Hayden-Roy, associate professor of German, encouraged Garner to apply for the Fulbright because of Garner's intelligence, reliability and "excellent" people skills.

"I see in her all the qualities for being an excellent teaching assistant in Germany," Hayden-Roy said. "She plunges into new situations and challenges with determination, optimism, creativity, and a great sense of humor."

After she returns, Garner will go to graduate school for either German or economics for Ph.D.; then she wants to teach at the university level.

She said the hard work she put into the application was worthwhile, and advises future Fulbright applicants to give themselves plenty of time to deal with the "intense" application.

"I know it will be an amazing experience," she 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 second of several Fulbrights that have been awarded to UNL students; features will be presented as the selections are made.

Writer: Christine Scalora