April 18, 1997
Student Awarded Fulbright Teaching Scholarship
UW-River Falls student David Yunger will graduate this semester and then travel to teach in Germany.
Yunger has been awarded a prestigious national Fulbright grant to teach English and American Studies to high school students preparing for college at a Gymnasium in Saxony, Germany.
The Fulbright Program, established in 1946 by the U.S. Congress under the sponsorship of former Sen. J. William Fulbright, annually awards grants for study, teaching, lecture and research. Fulbright grants are awarded to scholars who have academic or professional qualifications and the ability and willingness to share ideas with people of diverse cultures. This year 50 awards were given to scholars nationwide to travel to Germany.
UW-RF does not keep official records, but Yunger is believed to be the only student at UW-RF history to receive a national Fulbright grant in the program's 50-year history. Ten faculty members have been awarded teaching or research Fulbright scholarships.
Yunger, who is an education and modern langauges major from Plymouth, Minn., says that he was very surprised when he found out he received the award.
"I applied at the last minute. I found out about the deadline five days before it was due and spent the entire weekend writing essays and filling out the application," Yunger says.
He will arrive in Germany in late August to begin teaching for the academic year. He said he hopes to learn from the Germans and teach them from his own experiences.
"I want to use this as a cultural exchange to learn about what teaching is really like and how it differs in Germany. I hope to then be able to translate that experience into the classroom here when I teach students in the future," Yunger says.
Yunger believes that past visits to Germany helped qualify him for the award. In high school he switched places with a German high school student for just enough time to realize he wanted to go back.
He was able to return to Germany in college as part of the UW-RF Semester Abroad program. During those five months, Yunger independently researched the integration of the Turks into German society and had the opportunity to meet with a German senator.
Sandy Soares, the director of the Semester Abroad program accredits Yunger's Fulbright grant to his semester of experience and research in Germany.
"Dave's Fulbright is one of many examples of what the Semester Abroad program can lead to for a student," Soares says.
When Yunger returns to the United States next year he will be a certified teacher looking for a job teaching high school German students. But right now he is focused on his trip to Germany.
"I want to provide a positive experience at the school and bring excitement and energy to the classroom," Yunger says.