Valparaiso University alumna Veronica Fall, class of 2013, has been selected to participate in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals, a yearlong, federally funded fellowship for study and work in Germany during the 2013-2014 academic year.
Fall, a meteorology graduate from Wauconda, Ill., was selected as one of 75 participants among more than 600 applicants for this unique fellowship program.
“Veronica’s success in landing this position is another example of how a Valpo education can really jump start a student’s vocation upon graduation,” said Julie Maddox, director of study abroad programs at Valparaiso University. “Not only is she participating in the prestigious Congress-Bundestag program, but she was also admitted to a top graduate school — the University of Oklahoma — upon her return to the United States.”
While in Germany, Fall will attend a two-month intensive German language course, which will build upon the language skills she developed in her classes at Valpo and while studying abroad at Valpo’s study center in Reutlingen, Germany. Fall counts her study-abroad experience as one of the most memorable and transformative experiences of her undergraduate career.
“My study-abroad experience definitely changed my career path,” Fall said. “I’ve realized I need to bring this huge passion and interest of international travel into my everyday career and life.”
Fall’s semester in Reutlingen featured small, discussion-centered classes and an attention to critical analysis within a variety of topic courses. Maddox said participants come away from the program with self-motivation and ambition, which regularly shapes their future vocations.
“Veronica returned from her study-abroad experience with a passion toward promoting intercultural exchanges,” Maddox said.
Following her German language studies, Fall will study at a German university and complete a five-month internship with a German company in the meteorology field. Participants are placed throughout the country and have the opportunity to learn about everyday German life from a variety of perspectives.
Fall is confident that her experiences as a Valpo student have prepared her for success in this fellowship, in graduate school and in her future career.
“I can’t say enough kind things about the meteorology department at Valpo,” Fall said. “I really appreciate the bond I’ve had with the professors here. I know at some of the bigger schools, you don’t have the opportunity to form those relationships. Even though Valpo has a large meteorology program, you still get to know your professors well.”
As a member of Chi Epsilon Pi, the national meteorology honor society, Fall dedicated much of her time toward reaching out to local students and encouraging them to pursue their interests in math and science.
“Interacting with the elementary and middle school students is a lot of fun,” Fall said. “I’ve always been naturally inclined toward math and science, and I enjoy going out and showing what’s so cool about meteorology and science in general.”
Fall has deferred acceptance to the University of Oklahoma’s School of Meteorology and will begin her graduate studies in fall 2014, after completing her fellowship. Ultimately, she plans to pursue a research position within meteorology and study the long-term effects of global climate change.
Since 1984, more than 1,650 students from the United States have been awarded this opportunity to gain cultural, theoretical and practical work experience in Germany.