Gettysburg students earn Goldwater and Fulbright honors

Three more Gettysburg College students have joined the ranks of successful Gettysburg alumni who have been awarded national and international fellowships and scholarships. In 2014, Gettysburg students received two Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grants and one Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.

Goldwater Scholar Ryan Matzke ’15

MatzkwMathematics major and physics minor Ryan Matzke is one of only 283 undergraduate students in the nation to receive the Goldwater Scholarship. This highly prestigious scholarship is given to students for their academic excellence and research potential in the fields of science, mathematics, and engineering.

“Ryan is a wonderful student,” said Professor of Mathematics Béla Bajnok, “and his Goldwater Scholarship is so well deserved.” He recounted a time when Matzke presented a hypothesis in his course that Bajnok and his students believed to be unsolvable—only to have Matzke prove it to be true by the end of the semester. “It is truly a joy to work with Ryan,” he said. “I feel that I am talking to a mature mathematician.” The two are currently co-authoring a journal article.

Matzke has also served as a Peer Learning Associate (PLA) for Bajnok, working above and beyond to ensure that students understood the coursework and succeeded in their research. He plans to apply to graduate school to study pure mathematics so he may continue sharing his knowledge and passion for mathematics as a professor. Learn more about Matzke’s Gettysburg experience.

Fulbright grantees Sarah Hayes ’14 and Ned Strasbaugh ’14

This fall, Sarah Hayes and Charles “Ned” Strasbaugh will travel to Germany through the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Program, where they will help teach English language and serve as cultural ambassadors. Strasbaugh and Hayes were two of only 140 awardees to receive positions in the German program—which required their conversational knowledge of German language.

HayesA double major in German studies and history, Hayes is amidst a senior capstone project that combines her historical research on anti-Nazi resistance figure Freya von Moltke with a German studies course on memory. She is particularly interested in learning about the memorialization of WWII Era resistance figures, and the political implications of memory on German national identity.

As a Fulbright ETA, Hayes will live in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. She hopes to explore teaching as a possible career path and sees the program’s cultural exchange component as an “amazing opportunity to gain a new perspective on [her] own country through the eyes of others.” When she returns to the U.S., Hayes hopes to attend graduate school in medieval or early modern history. 

Strasbaugh, a double major in German studies and philosophy, is eager to use his ETA teaching experience to “inspire students the same way [he has] been inspired.” He will be placed in Rhineland-Palatinate—and given the state’s close proximity to France and Luxembourg, he plans to travel and improve his French language skills as well.

Strasbaugh“The thing about Europe is that everything is so clustered together,” he said. “An immense cultural and historical experience is a train ride away in just about any direction.” Strasbaugh is currently conducting a senior capstone project that explores the role of guest workers in contemporary German memory, and plans to pursue graduate school in German studies or philosophy when he returns.

Having advised both Strasbaugh and Hayes, Associate Professor of German Studies Laurel Cohen-Pfister is elated by their placements. “Sarah and Ned will be great representatives for Gettysburg abroad,” she said, emphasizing how both have excelled in the German Studies Department’s interdisciplinary research and study abroad opportunities. Both also serve as German PLAs and tutors, and meet regularly with introductory-level German students to lead conversation and grammar review exercises.

These activities, Cohen-Pfister said, have helped to improve Hayes’s and Strasbaugh’s language skills—giving them a deeper understanding of language learning pedagogy and equipping them with the confidence and ability to excel as Fulbright applicants. She also added that both students join a long line of German studies Fulbright awardees, which “speaks to the department’s intellectual climate and Gettysburg’s ability to give undergraduate students opportunities to develop to their fullest potential.” 

A legacy of scholarship

Over the years, Assistant Provost for Scholarship Maureen Forrestal has guided students like Matzke, Hayes, and Strasbaugh in applying for these awards, and has seen the profound impact of these awards on both Gettysburg students and the College as a whole.

“While these highly prestigious and nationally competitive scholarships raise Gettysburg’s academic profile,” she said, “the application process, itself, is so important. Even our best students benefit from learning what it means to write clearly and concisely, to respond maturely and intelligently to ongoing critiques, to present their scholarship essays to faculty screening committees, and to be treated as members of an active scholarly community.”

Through her counsel, Gettysburg students have received 19 Fulbright grants, five Goldwater Scholarships, an NSF graduate fellowship, and a Rhodes Scholarship. See more stories of Gettysburg scholarship and fellowship winners:

Learn about Fulbright ETA awardee Emily Ruhl ’13

Read a ten-year history of the College’s Fulbright awardees, and view an interactive map of Fulbright recipients from 2002-2012

Read about five Fulbright awardees and one Goldwater winner in 2011

Meet the record-setting six Fulbright awardees in 2010

Read about 2008's two Fulbright fellows, two Goldwater Scholars, and NOAA Holling Scholar

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Contact: Christine Shanaberger, associate director of communications/coordinator of presidential communications 717.337.6806

Posted: Mon, 28 Apr 2014

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