San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

May 27th, 2009
Two Texas State students awarded Fulbrights to Germany, England


Two recent graduates of Texas State University have received Fulbright awards to study and teach in England and Germany.

Jessica Spangler of Austin will be an English teaching assistant at a high school in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz. Michael Trice, originally of Springtown and an Austin resident since 1996, will work on a Master of Arts degree in communication studies at the University of Leeds’ Centre for Digital Citizenship in England.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. The program has provided almost 300,000 participants from the U.S. and abroad—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Spangler earned her B.S. in geography and B.A. German in 2008. At Texas State, she concentrated on developing skills in German and Spanish. In the geography department, she studied natural resources and the environment, becoming trained in a number of research and analytical tools used in geographic information science. She received the GIS Award from the Student Organization for Achievement in Geography, and the Outstanding Achievement Award in International Education, and she was a member of the University Honors Program.

In 2002-2003, Spangler lived in Germany as a high school student in the Rotary International youth exchange program.

“I have wanted to go back to Germany ever since then,” she said. “So I am very excited to return as a teacher. I look forward to learning more about the German philosophy of teaching and to discussing German and American culture with the students and teachers.”
She said she expects that working in a German school will provide her with direction for her future career path. This summer, Spangler is in New York City, doing an Americorps/Student Conservation Association internship in environmental education.

Trice earned his M.A. in technical communication from Texas State in 2008 with a cognate in mass communication focusing on new media. Trice’s research looks at how groups use specialized wikis–collaborative websites whose content can be edited by anyone who has access to them–to store community histories and practices. He said he hopes to work with groups as diverse as countryside garden hobbyists, Welsh preservationists and Chinese nationals living in London. He believes his research will have value in developing wiki software for schools, newspapers, non-profits and social communities that live near each other.

Trice, named the 2009 Outstanding Graduate Student in English at Texas State, has served as assistant editor for Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology and Pedagogy, and presented papers at several professional conferences. His chapter about online rhetoric in sports communities will be published in a collection called The Digital Generation. He has received awards for nonfiction writing and for volunteer work. After his Fulbright year, he hopes to pursue a doctoral degree.

“My family and I couldn’t be more proud or honored by the opportunity offered by the Fulbright program,” Trice said. “I come from a long line of soldiers who served the country from World War II through the first Gulf War. Consequently, my ability to serve the country as an ambassador-scholar holds a great deal of meaning to all of us.

“Studying in England has always been a dream of mine,” he said. “Part of my fascination with social media is the promise that Jorge Luis Borges’ ‘Aleph’ might be realized in such a way that all knowledge and stories can be preserved, no matter how minor or fringe the community. I have little doubt that growing up in Springtown, a tiny rural town in north Texas, influenced this drive.”


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