Margaret Lippert ’15, who earns her bachelor’s from Valparaiso University during its undergraduate Commencement ceremony on May 17, will spend the 2015–2016 academic year in Taiwan thanks to a prestigious Fulbright English teaching assistant grant. In the past 10 years, nearly 30 Valpo graduates have been offered Fulbright research and teaching assistant grants through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.
“We are very pleased to see Margaret’s talent, hard work and dedication recognized by the Fulbright Program,” said Mark L. Biermann, Ph.D., provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “This honor is a confirmation of the extraordinary education students receive at Valparaiso University, and I am confident she will represent us well in her future endeavors.”
Pursuing a career in international education, Lippert, of Elmhurst, Ill., majors in international economics and cultural affairs with a concentration in East Asia and a minor in Spanish. She studied abroad at Valpo’s study center in Hangzhou, China, and completed an internship at YMCA in Valparaiso, Chile. She works in Valpo’s international programs office; is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, the Spanish honor society, mortar board and Order of Omega; and studies Tang Soo Do Karate with a first-degree black belt.
“Studying abroad was one of the most important things I’ve done at Valpo,” Lippert said. “I was immersed in the culture, and now while teaching I’ll be able to interact with students on a day-to-day basis and get to know them more in depth. I’m excited for the opportunity to teach, be part of the community and get a glimpse of Taiwanese culture, which is a fascinating mix with a unique history.”
Lippert said while working in Valpo’s international office she realized she could have a career that enabled her to “give international students life-changing experiences, connect with them on a personal level and see them grow.” She said it was important to be there for students not just as a resource but also as a support system.
While she was initially hesitant to apply for the prestigious program, Lippert said the encouragement and support from Valpo professors, including Fulbright Program Advisor Betsy Burow-Flak, showed her it was possible and played a vital role in the application process.
“The Fulbright Program’s goal of fostering mutual cultural understanding is very much in line with Valparaiso University’s strategic initiatives,” Burow-Flak said. “I have shared in the joy not only in the placement of some of our brightest and best in Nepal, South Africa, France, Germany, Austria, Poland and Taiwan, but also in seeing our Fulbright alumni return and continue to be ambassadors for the United States, Valparaiso University and the Fulbright Program in their ongoing work and study.”
Lippert is one of more than 1,900 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for 2015–2016 through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between United States citizens and the people of other countries. The Program operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.