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

April 29th, 2013
Texas State produces record Fulbright grant recipients


In an unprecedented accomplishment for the College of Liberal Arts at Texas State University, three of its students have been selected for Fulbright grants for the 2013-2014 school year.

Elliott Brandsma will travel to Iceland while Jack Mades and Emily Rothsbauer will travel to Germany to represent the United States and Texas State as they teach and conduct research.

Texas State has produced nine Fullbright grant recipients, seven of those since 2005. But never three in on round.

“What’s amazing is that we’ve gotten three in one year, and they happen to be from the College of Liberal Arts,” said Valentina Glajar, a German professor and the college’s Fullbright advisor. “More so, two of these students are from the Department of Modern Languages and specifically from our small German program.”

Jack Mades is one of these German students who will travel to Germany to teach English as part of his Fulbright grant. While at Texas State, he was the president of the German National Honor Society and a German program instructional assistant before graduating in May 2012 and joining the U.S. Marine Corps.

Emily Rothsbauer, a double major in German and English, will also travel to Germany this fall after she graduates from Texas State in August. She has also served as the president of the German National Honor Society.

Elliott Brandsma, a student in the honors college, received a research grant to Iceland. Glajar said Brandsma first came into her office three years ago to inquire about Fulbright Scholarships to Iceland and has been working on building his portfolio ever since.

Glajar noted what a huge achievement this news was for the faculty teaching German.

“It’s fantastic,” said Glajar. “I’m so proud of our program and our faculty because there’s only four of us, but we worked as a team. We’re either doing something well or Germany has enough money to fund these various grants.”

Being selected as a Fulbright Scholar is an extremely prestigious achievement and one that is highly competitive. Glajar said that as part of the application process, the students must write two essays, have three reference letters, preferably have a high GPA, complete a language evaluation form to ensure proficiency of the main language in the country to which they will travel and for the research grants, a student must have additional proof of their foreign affiliation with an institution in the country they will travel to. Students then have to go through an interview with the Texas State Fulbright Committee before being screened by the national committee. The host country ultimately makes the choice of which students will be selected.

The application process began for the students at the end of September and they were notified of their awards in March and April.

“These students brought the whole package to the application,” said Glajar. “Fulbrights aren’t for everyone; you have to want to go out there into the world and experience it, but you also have to have the academic qualifications and people who will support you.”

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