Three Valparaiso University seniors have been awarded Fulbright grants to continue their international studies while making a contribution to the cultures of Taiwan, Germany, and Poland.
Halina Hopkins, Hannah Scupham, and Sterling Summerville completed their undergraduate careers during Valpo’s May 19 commencement ceremony. As recipients of the Fulbright award for 2013-2014, these students will have the opportunity to use their skills within a new environment and broaden their experiences.
“I am very pleased to see the hard work, dedication, and accomplishments of Halina, Hannah, and Sterling so deservedly well recognized by the Fulbright Program,” Valparaiso University Provost Mark Schwehn said. “This honor reflects the high academic standards that we hold for all Valparaiso University students, and I am confident that they will continue to succeed in their future endeavors.”
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright Program annually awards grants to approximately 1,500 American students to study, teach English, and conduct research in more than 110 countries throughout the world. The grants allow students to bridge the gap between undergraduate studies and the workforce as they enhance their knowledge not only of other cultures, but of their own skills and ambitions.
“Hannah, Halina, and Sterling will be excellent teachers and ambassadors of the U.S. and Valparaiso University,” said Betsy Burrow-Flak, chair of Valparaiso University’s Department of English. “As the Fulbright program advisor, I have been honored to work with each of them and to see how their work and their mentoring by faculty and staff from across the University have flourished into these incredible opportunities.”
Hopkins, a biology, environmental science, and humanities major from Columbus, Ind., has been offered a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Taiwan. Previously, she has traveled abroad to Spain and Morocco, and she hopes one day to teach science to middle school students. As a student in Christ College, Valpo’s honors college, Hopkins received the College’s Donnelly prize for her essay “The Environmental Ethics of Living Jim Crow.” This prize is awarded annually for an outstanding essay on people’s relationship with the environment.
An active student on Valpo’s campus, Hopkins served as a teaching assistant for the Christ College freshman program, was a member of the University’s geography honor society and biology club, and volunteered at the St. Teresa of Avila Student Center, adjacent to Valpo’s campus. She also presented work at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research and Valparaiso University’s Celebration of Undergraduate Scholarship.
Scupham, an English and German major from Valparaiso, Ind., will return to Germany for her Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, after spending the 2011-2012 academic year studying abroad in Tuebingen. She taught German in the Bridges to World Languages program, played in the Valparaiso University orchestra, and was active in the English and German honor societies.
A Christ College scholar, Scupham presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, and her writing won recognition in Valpo’s Wordfest Writing Contest and earned her the Margot Ann Uehling Prize for Writing, awarded annually for exceptional undergraduate essays. She also received a scholarship from Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, an organization of higher education institutions in Germany that promotes international academic relations and cooperation. Upon completion of her assistantship, Scupham intends to pursue graduate study in English.
Summerville, an international service major from Indianapolis, has been offered an English Teaching Assistantship in Poland. He has just returned from a semester in Namibia and plans to pursue a career in foreign service or humanitarian aid. Already familiar with world travel, Summerville spent the summer of 2012 in the Republic of Georgia building leadership skills for Georgian youth through a program sponsored by the Georgian Ministry of Education and Science.
A member of Valparaiso University’s football team, Summerville also was active in the University’s Office of Multicultural Programs, the Black Student Organization, Latinos in Valparaiso for Excellence, and the Peace and Social Justice Symposium Committee.