The prestigious Fulbright award was given to three Valparaiso University recipients who will continue their international studies while making a contribution to the cultures of South Africa, Nepal, and France.

This award allows the selected recent graduates, who capped their Valpo undergraduate careers Sunday during the commencement ceremony at the Athletics-Recreation Center on campus, to use their skills within a new environment and broaden their experiences.

Laurie Kenyon, chemistry and international service major, has been offered a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. She will be teaching in an upper-level secondary school in South Africa, while researching and working within her internship.

“I am hoping to work with an international development agency,” Kenyon said.

Kenyon never imagined that her hope would soon become a reality after her graduation this month.

“I feel both incredibly excited and humbled by this amazing opportunity,” Kenyon said. “Since studying in South Africa and Namibia in the fall of 2010, I’ve wanted to go back and keep learning and experiencing the culture and people of southern Africa.”

Math major Krista Schaefer will be traveling to Nepal to begin her Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. She hopes to be placed at a rural school in Nepal after her month-long orientation.

“I am looking forward to working not only with (the Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association) but also with all the teachers in the school to promote spoken English and encourage a friendly environment,” Schaefer said. “By working with teachers, I can develop the English curriculum to impact students after my year is over.”

Schaefer said she has had many great experiences throughout her years at Valpo, especially with the help of her history professor and father, Chuck Schaefer.

“Professor Schaefer was extremely helpful,” Krista Schaefer said. “Not only is he always excited about the opportunities I’ve had in college and plans for after, but he is the greatest dad because of the role model that he has been.”

Alison DeVries has been offered an assistantship from the French Ministry of Education Teaching Assistant Program as a result of her Fulbright application. She will be teaching in an elementary school in the region of Poitiers, France.

“I am thrilled about having received this award,” DeVries said. “Studying abroad in France was one of the pivotal experiences in my undergraduate career, and having the opportunity to live there for five months really made me fall in love with the country, its culture and its people, and I’ve been wanting to go back since I left.”

DeVries will be teaching lessons in both English and French about basic English concepts, vocabulary, and grammar.

“This is a chance for me to go back to the country I love and really spend an extensive amount of time living in the culture and become a part of a community, and that’s what I’m really looking forward to,” DeVries said.

Approximately 1,500 American students are offered Fulbright grants annually to study, teach English, and conduct research in more than 110 countries throughout the world each summer. The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

About Valparaiso University
Valparaiso University is a comprehensive independent Lutheran university with more than 4,000 students on its campus located in Northwest Indiana, an hour from Chicago. Valpo is a community of purpose-driven, service-minded and ethical individuals who embrace the pursuit of truth with freedom, humility and compassion. Valpo has been identified as one of the top master’s-level institutions in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report magazine for the past 22 years. Valparaiso University offers 110 undergraduate academic programs through the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Engineering and Nursing. Valpo also has a distinguished honors college, a School of Law and more than 40 degree and certificate programs in its Graduate School and Continuing Education Division. Valpo has been recognized for its commitment to outstanding teaching, preparing thoughtful leaders with strong cross-cultural skills and global awareness, and dedication to serving others.