K-State Graduate receives Fulbright Scholarship


    K-State President Jon Wefald is known for boasting about the university’s exceptional number of Fulbright scholars, and Libby Holste is one of the latest students to make that list.
    Holste, a May 2008 graduate with a degree in history, was awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship for the 2008-09 academic year.
    Holste will be an English Teaching Assistant at a high school in Mainz, a city in west-central Germany. Her students will range in age from 10 to 16 and she will spend approximately 12 hours a week teaching in the classroom, in addition to offering an after-school conversational class.
    “The program allows me a lot of flexibility and creativity in working with the students,” Holste explained. “Most of the students are taught straight out of a book.”
    Holste will help her students with correct pronunciation, as well as give them a firsthand view of American culture. As for her conversational class, it is optional for her students but gives them more opportunities to learn and speak in English.
    This is not Holste’s first time in Germany. She studied abroad near Hamburg during her junior year at K-State. Holste also has a minor in German.    
    Though she will be in a different area of Germany, Holste said her study-abroad experience will help her adapt to living in that area.
    “I really liked it the first time. It’s a lot easier to know I can mesh right in,” she said.
    The Fulbright Scholarship is a program funded through the U.S. Department of State. Started in 1946 by Sen. J. William Fulbright, it is awarded each year to an increasing number of U.S. participants, who can travel to more than 155 countries.
    The program provides its participants with traveling funds as well as a stipend each month for living expenses but requires scholars to find their own living situations.
    Holste said she researched for roommates on the Internet and found a German Fulbright scholar who will complete the program in Minneapolis, Minn. Holste will sublease her apartment, and live with the German scholar’s two roommates, while the German scholar studies in the U.S.
    Holste’s mother, Leah Holste, said she and her husband, Charles, were happy with how Holste’s
living situation turned out.
    “We’re glad that somebody else is picking her up from the airport,” Leah said. “Those are things that give us a little bit more peace of mind.”
    Leah said Charles got a passport upon the recommendation of a friend, so he could travel to Germany to see Libby in the event of an emergency.
    Libby said she is happy with the town where she will be teaching.
    “It’s a college town so I should fit right in,” she said.
    She also said there will be five other Fulbrights in the same town, though none of them will be working in the same school.
    “I knew I didn’t want to go into grad school right away. It was a good opportunity, and I knew I wanted to go abroad again,” said Libby, explaining why she chose the Fulbright program.   
    “We are excited for her to have this opportunity,” Leah said. “We’re just happy it all worked out for her.”
    James Hohenbary, K-State assistant dean for nationally competitive scholarships, helped Libby apply for the Fulbright Scholarship by editing her applications.
    “Basically my job is to help students coordinate the process,” Hohenbary said. 
    Hohenbary said there are two very special factors with the Fulbright Scholarship. One of those factors is that the application process is very open. 
    After receiving a bachelor’s degree, a college graduate can apply at any time for a Fulbright Scholarship, until the graduate receives a doctorate. Hohenbary said the other quality is that there are more than 155 countries involved in the program, so there’s great flexibility on where one can travel.
    “It’s so flexible, it can potentially serve many different students,” Hohenbary said. 
    Though Libby is participating in a teaching assistantship, Hohenbary said this position is in the minority. But the Fulbright Program is adding more teaching assistantships each year, he said. Other recipients use the scholarship for research or creative projects.
    The 2009-10 school year will offer 1,498 U.S. Fulbright scholarships. The deadline to apply is Sept. 22.