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.
A 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.
“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.”