Ellen McPherson hadn’t planned on moving to Germany in September. Ellen, who earned a bachelor’s degree in German and Environmental Sciences with a minor in Spanish from OSU in 2021, was selected as an alternate for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Germany back in April. Receiving alternate status meant that she could be promoted to Finalist status if additional funding became available. Given the uncertainty of additional funding opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ellen was told to explore alternative options for the year. June ended with a welcome surprise, however, when Ellen was notified that she had been promoted to Finalist status, meaning that she would be heading to Germany in several short months. Ellen’s reaction is perhaps best summed up with the pithy statement, “I’m thrilled!”  

Ellen will be teaching English in an elementary or secondary school in Thüringen, Germany. “I am most looking forward to exploring ecosystems in Thüringen and learning more about environmental values and policies in Germany as well as gaining classroom experience,” Ellen shares. She plans to engage her students by promoting environmental activism and teaching about global ecosystems. Ellen also plans to join a local environmental organization to meet community members who share her interest in sustainability in order to exchange perspectives on environmental issues. 

After completing the ETA, Ellen plans to attend graduate school and to continue to intertwine her interests in German and Environmental Sciences. When thinking about how the Fulbright grant will impact her future professional and academic life, Ellen explains that she hopes the Fulbright will broaden her perspectives and tools as an educator. She hopes to help students and community members become informed about the actions they can take to protect local ecosystems.

The advice that Ellen has for future Fulbright applicants? “Start early and don’t doubt yourself. The Fulbright application is intimidating, but you can do it! The application process itself is so rewarding and a great way to learn about yourself, your past accomplishments, and future goals.” A few of those rewards include clarifying your professional, academic, and personal goals; improving your writing skills; deepening your relationships with mentors; and gaining confidence in your ability to apply to competitive opportunities. If you are interested in learning about how you can benefit from applying to a competitive scholarship or fellowship, set up an appointment with us to learn more! 

Ellen joins two other 2021-2022 Fulbright Finalists from OSU. Maja Engler ‘21 will be collaborating with a neuroscience lab at Ulm University in Germany to research winter polymorphism in hibernating Djungarian hamsters, to better understand potential biomedical applications for humans. Emily Newton ‘12 will be collaborating with the University of Otago in New Zealand to research the possibility of two species of kelp-rafting marine invertebrates establishing in warming, nearshore Antarctic ecosystems. 

Read the official press release here

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered at Oregon State University through LeAnn Adam, OSU National and Global Scholarships Advising Coordinator. For more information about applying for Fulbright or other national and international scholarships and fellowships, please contact  LeAnn at [email protected] and visit: http://topscholars.oregonstate.edu