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Crystalyn Thomas-Davis

Crystalyn Thomas-Davis

Photo courtesy of: Crystalyn Thomas-Davis


Luke Slager hanging out in Budapest, Hungary

Photo courtesy of: Luke Slager

Kellina Lupas

Kellina Lupas

Photo courtesy of: Kellina Lupas

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Ten students win competitive Fulbright awards

Six will teach or study in Germany

Ohio University is celebrating the fact that 10 of its students won Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards in an extremely competitive scholarship environment.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program allows Americans to conduct research, teach English as a foreign language or do a project in the creative and performing arts in over 140 nations.

Competition for the Fulbright award has been increasing with time. This year, the number of U.S. applicants rose by nearly 1,000 for the third year in a row.

"Receiving a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award is more prestigious than ever this year for a nationally competitive award program that is already widely respected in our nation and perhaps even better known in many other countries around the world," said Beth Clodfelter, director of U.S. Fulbright Programs for Ohio University.

Crystalyn Thomas-Davis, a broadcast journalism major, will serve as an English teaching assistant (ETA) in a South Korean secondary school through the Fulbright Teaching Assistantship. She said she is looking forward to sharing information about United States culture and will help her students create a yearbook that includes such cultural information over the course of the academic year.

Kellina Lupas, an Honors Tutorial College biological sciences major, will conduct neuroscience research in the Netherlands. In a research institute in Utrecht, she will study "reward processing in children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder (ADHD)." In addition to conducting her research, she also will continue studying the Dutch language.

Stephanie Baker, an AYA Integrated Language Arts major with minors in linguistics and English, was awarded the Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to India. She will teach English in a secondary classroom in India for 10 months. If time allows, she will continue her study of the Hindi language during her stay.

Jon Cinovec was awarded a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship. A triple major in English, linguistics and Spanish, he will be headed to Cantabria, Spain, to assist English instructors who teach it as a second language. He will focus on teaching native Spanish speakers the most challenging aspects of the English language.

In addition, four other students have received Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships to Germany.

"The success of these students in what is proving to be an incredibly competitive Fulbright year is a testament to the strength of a variety of Ohio University academic programs and to the professors who have taught and mentored them," Clodfelter said. "Many of the awardees benefited from completing courses in teaching English as a foreign language through the Department of Linguistics."

Eric Geyer is a double major in German and psychology with a minor in history. For a side research project, he has proposed to interview German teachers and guidance counselors about how German schools handle mental health issues among students.

Learose Pinkham is a double major in German and linguistics who made arrangements with the high school that she attended to run an ongoing video blog initiative between her future English students in Germany and the U.S. high school students.

Luke Slager is double majoring in German and history. He plans to use a variety of landmark U.S. films from various historical periods to encourage his students to discuss U.S. and German cultural issues. At the same time he will help them improve their conversational English skills. He is currently studying in Salzburg, Austria. 

A fourth student received a Fulbright ETA award to Germany but has declined the opportunity.

Two additional students won Fulbright awards to conduct research in Germany.

Chrissy Matzen's proposed research into the motivations and backgrounds of female concentration camp guards garnered a Fulbright award as well as an impressive amount of interest among and support from German scholars during the application process. She is majoring in history, minoring in German and pursuing certificates in Women's Studies, Jewish Studies and European Studies.

"The rigorous combination of academic programs that Chrissy has selected and the significant undergraduate research experience that she has gained at and through Ohio University helped make her an exceptional Fulbright applicant," Clodfelter said.

Journalism major Mathew Wagner earned a special Fulbright award to Germany, the Beginning Professional Journalism Award. He will focus on if and how having multicultural players on the national soccer teams impacts German national identity.

"The only previous Ohio University recipient of that award had several years of professional journalism experience by the time of application, so to receive this opportunity as an undergraduate is a real honor for Matt and a credit to the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism," Clodfelter said.

Clodfelter gave credit to the German language faculty for the students' successful Fulbright applications.

"The German professors in the Department of Modern Languages are clearly inspiring their students to learn more about German culture and to have ambitious German language learning goals," Clodfelter said. "Ohio's Fulbright awardees will now have the chance to conduct important research, teach English, gain a sophisticated understanding of another country, develop or improve foreign language skills, make friends and establish connections that could significantly enhance their careers. Hopefully each of them will have a wonderful, engaging year."

For more information, contact Beth Clodfelter at 740-593-2302 or