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Student Receives Fulbright Assistantship

By Jenna Campbell
UW-RF University Communications

APRIL 14, 2006--University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate student Beth Eifler has been named a teaching assistant through the Fulbright Commission of Austrian American Educational Commission. Eifler is one of 75 people to be chosen for this position.

Eifler will be traveling to Baden, Austria, where she will be working at a college for future teachers, from Sept. 25 until May 31. In Austria, Eifler hope to promote mutual understanding of German language and culture.
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.

Eifler is a native of Ashwaubenon, Wis. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for four years and then transferred to UW-RF in 2005 where she finished her undergraduate degree with a double major in social studies and the German language. Eifler is now pursuing her initial certification for secondary education, which is part of a graduate program at UW-RF.

The offering of the Fulbright assistant position came as a surprise to Eifler. "I was really excited when I found out," says Eifler. "I truly have a love of German culture, love for teaching and I genuinely love people."
Many experiences have aided in Eifler's success. In high school, Eifler participated in the German American Partnership Program. GAAP was very influential for Eifler and it encouraged her to continue her education in the German language.

While attending the UW-Eau Claire, Eifler took advantage of study abroad opportunities. Eifler studied in Germany for a semester. She was also participated in the National Student Exchange program, where she spent a semester at Michigan Tech.

Eifler explains that her teaching experiences have helped her in receiving this award. "Since middle school I have been teaching indirectly, through coaching, tutoring and teaching," says Eifler.
Not only have her experiences assisted Eifler's success, but also the people she has named as her mentors, including her father Mel Buckmaster, Johannes Strohshank and Geoffrey Sheurman. "He has always been there to tell me what needs to be done, and tells me how it needs to be done," says Eifler about her father.

Johannes Strohschank, a professor of German at UW-EC, has had a large impact on her life. "He was my advisor, he's very smart, very nice and very encouraging," says Eifler. Stohschank said he has a lot of confidence in Eifler's success in Austria. "With her sparking personality and her abundance of good will, Ms. Eifler will thrive in the Austrian classroom, engage and enrich the children and make them appreciate the benefits of learning another language and culture," says Strohschank.

Eifler said Scheurman, who is part of the teacher education department at UW-RF, really enjoys his job and it shows. "He also knows how to be caring and professional at the same time," says Eifler. Says Scheurman of Eifler, "Beth Eifler, like many of our exceptional graduate students seeking initial certification, is hungry for every experience she can get. This Fulbright opportunity is another example of Beth's willingness to get her hands dirty. She is already teaching in a private school and does high caliber work in our courses and field experiences. This is what it takes to develop into an exemplary teacher."

Eifler has also received a summer scholarship through the American Association of Teachers of German. Eifler will spend four weeks in Germany and four weeks in Rome learning how to teach English as a foreign language.

Upon return, Eifler will take off for Austria in September. Accompanying Eifler on her trip overseas is her husband Bob and their dog Pongo. "I'm really excited to embrace European culture and travel with my husband," concludes Eifler.

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Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:07:19 Central Daylight Time

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