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University boasts Fulbright scholars

March 6, 1997

By Kristin Nelson

Lariat Staff Writer

The Institute for International Education has named four University students as Fulbright scholar semi-finalists.

Alison Hansen, a San Antonio senior; Claire Hansen, a San Antonio senior; Lisa Johnson, a Toms River, N.J., graduate student; and Ann Madison, a Nebraska City, Neb., graduate student, all applied to the Fulbright Committee and were named semi-finalists.

As of Wednesday, two of the four semi-finalists received confirmation from their respective countries. The Austrian Fulbright reviewing board named Claire Hansen as a recipient of the Fulbright grant and Madison as an alternate for the program.

The Fulbright Program is a government-funded program that allows American students to study abroad for nine months.

Students apply through a proposal of study that includes a choice of educational institute, proof of contacts within a country, recommendations and a language exam.

Students chosen receive nearly $12,000 in stipends and scholarship.

'The Fulbright [program] is all about things you can't learn in a classroom,' Claire Hansen said.

The proposals compiled by the applicants have undergone several levels of review beginning with an intensive interview and application critique by University professors before the professors could forward the application to the Institute of International Education.

The University semi-finalists made various proposals ranging from communications studies to art and historical studies.

'Projects can be as different as you want,' Alison Hansen said.

Once proposals and applications are received by the Institute of International Education, the reviewing board separates the applications by countries and narrows the list of applicants, forwarding those qualified to the countries of proposed study.

Countries review applications on their own time frame, and announcements of final scholars come between March and May.

Claire Hansen proposed to study international journalism and public relations in Vienna, Austria at the University of Vienna.

According to Hansen, Vienna is the center for international journalism.

'I know I want to go international in whatever I do with my life,' Hansen said. 'I look at this opportunity as one more step in an adjustment to different cultures, and a springboard for future plans.' Madison proposed to study Viennese classical style piano also in Vienna, Austria. She said the Viennese culture has not changed much since the time of such classical composers as Beethoven and Mozart. 'Being in the culture helps you understand the style,' Madison said. She said she hopes to have a lot of time to absorb and study the culture of Vienna. 'Working on a degree, it's hard to concentrate on the art of playing, but in Vienna I will be able to study the culture and work on playing,' Madison said. Alison Hansen based her proposal on a comparison study of journalism in America and Spain. She chose this study because it combines both of her majors--Spanish and journalism. 'I spent a semester in the Netherlands with Baylor's program, and I knew I wanted to go back to Europe,' Alison Hansen said. 'The great thing about the program is that you can pick any city in any country of the world.' Celebrating its 50th anniversary last year, the Fulbright program has sponsored nearly 90,000 students and teachers in nearly every country in the world. The program started after World War II by Sen. J. William Fulbright, and the program most recently has been recognized by the U.S. Postal Service with an honorary stamp.

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