Feature News

North Central College graduates earn Fulbright awards

Laura Pohl

May 20, 2020

Scholars will head to Germany in 2021 for teaching assignments

Two 2019 graduates of North Central College’s German program have been honored with prestigious Fulbright awards. In early 2021, Emily Adams ’19 and Jayne Peters ’19 plan to relocate to Germany to become English Teaching Assistants (ETAs). They will teach English in community schools while serving as cultural ambassadors for the United States.

How do you earn a Fulbright ETA?

As one of the most widely recognized and prestigious international exchange programs worldwide, Fulbright applicants must be highly qualified for these positions in teaching, graduate study and advanced research. The program annually awards about 2,000 grants in all fields of study and operates in more than 140 countries.
Adams’ and Peters’ successful applications reflected their stellar academic records, study abroad experiences through North Central College, German language preparation, and commitment to advancing mutual understanding among nations––the mission of the Fulbright program.

Fulbright awards help realize career directions

Both graduates expect the experience to further their career aspirations. “Becoming a Fulbright ETA in Germany complements my goals to become a researcher and changemaker in education policy,” said Adams, who studied German, economics and Chinese as an undergraduate. “I’m excited to expand my teaching experience by exploring the German education system and adding depth to my future studies in a Ph.D. program.”

Peters ’19, who majored in both German and French, said, “Serving others has always been at the forefront of my career goals. Fulbright will act as a great stepping stone to reach my goals because it advocates for international exchange and representing your country through service to others.”

Fulbright award winner Jayne Peters looking over a beautiful vista in Germany.

Jayne Peters

Inspired instruction builds foundation for success

In their German studies and research, both scholars were mentored by Gregory Wolf, Dennis and Jean Bauman Professor in the Humanities and professor of German. Wolf encouraged them to study abroad at the University of Heidelberg, which played a significant role in their undergraduate experiences, they said. “North Central’s German program provides you with countless opportunities to expand your language and leadership skills,” said Peters.   

Adams has researched public policies related to economic development in both Germany and China. She received a Richter Grant to conduct research in China on education reforms––the foundation for her College Scholars honors thesis. She also researched the outcome of public policies following the fall of the Berlin Wall. “Dr. Wolf’s mentorship pushed me to ask deeper questions to understand Germany––from linguistic, cultural and historical contexts,” she said.

Adams followed in the footsteps of her father, George Adams ’89, who studied math and German at North Central and studied abroad in Bonn, Germany.

“Growing up, I loved my dad’s stories of German castles and enjoyed his homemade spaetzli (a German noodle). He inspired me to study German at North Central,” she said.

Fulbright award winner Emily Adams in a German town square.

Emily Adams

The German program played a significant role in Peters’ decision to enroll at North Central. “I sat in on a German class my junior year of high school and felt like I was a part of the class. It was clearly a tight-knit community and Dr. Wolf included me in the discussion,” said Peters.

At North Central, Peters assisted Stephen Maynard Caliendo, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of political science, with his research on the evolution of educational rights in America. She also did research with Wolf on how German graphic novels address social issues of World War I.

She envisions a career in government—with a focus on either international affairs or international security—and would also like to earn a Ph.D. to teach at the college level.

While they wait for their Fulbright assignments, Adams is serving as a teacher at a public charter school in Wausau, Wis., and Peters is working as a marketing and communications intern at the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, Inc.

To find out more about these and other great opportunities offered by North Central College, go to northcentralcollege.edu/apply.