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Albright College Senior Receives Prestigious Fulbright Award

April 1, 2015


Reading, Pa. – Albright College senior Heather Palmer, of Canton, Pa., has been named a Fulbright scholar.

Palmer, a history and religious studies major, was selected for the prestigious 2015-16 Fulbright U.S. Student Award to Germany. Palmer will spend nearly a year in Germany, as part of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) program, teaching English to German students at pre-university levels.

The Fulbright Program is America's flagship international educational exchange program. Palmer will serve as a cultural ambassador, helping to enhance mutual understanding between Americans and Germans. 

"I'm looking forward to experiencing another culture, learning more about German life, and living in a completely different environment than what I have been used to," said Palmer.

A Fulbright is the perfect vehicle for Palmer, who is driven to explore the world and experience other cultures. A lifelong interest in European history, particularly German (Palmer is of German heritage), led her to apply for the Fulbright ETA program there.

Raised in a small, rural farming community in northeastern Pennsylvania, Palmer will also be the first in her family to graduate from college when she receives her Albright diploma this May.

"I have wanted to live abroad for a very long time and a Fulbright seemed like a perfect opportunity to do that while at the same time doing something I enjoy, which is teaching," she said.

Palmer hopes to utilize social media and other technologies to not only teach English but to expose German students to the various cultures that exist within the United States, especially those not as prevalent in popular culture, such as rural living, and Native American and Latino cultures.


A standout student, Palmer also excels outside the classroom. She serves as a tutor and tutor manager, helping her fellow students master the German language. Palmer also gives campus tours to perspective students and serves as an orientation adviser, helping freshmen, including international students, adjust to life at Albright. Palmer is also active in the College's theatre department and, since 2013, has served as a tour guide at the Bradford County Historical Society in Towanda, Pa.

Palmer joins more than 100,000 Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumni who have undertaken grants since the program began in 1948.

"Heather is the kind of student who, when she sets her mind to accomplish something, goes into hyper-drive and just sticks to it until she is done," said her history adviser, Professor Guillaume de Syon, Ph.D.

Over winter Interim, de Syon worked with Palmer in Paris, France, on an Albright Creative Research Experience (ACRE) project, examining popular culture depictions of Joan of Arc, the subject of her senior thesis.

"Heather is smart, personable, curious about the world, and open to new experiences," said her religious studies adviser, Associate Professor Jennifer Koosed, Ph.D. "The Fulbright is a perfect fit for her abilities and talents."

Palmer is not the first Albright student to receive a Fulbright. After graduating in 2008, alumna Elizabeth McMahon spent a year teaching English to grade-school children in Taiwan.

The Fulbright ETA program places recent graduates and young professionals in classrooms abroad to help strengthen English language instruction and knowledge of America, while also increasing the U.S. student's own language skills and knowledge of the host country. ETA participants are integrated into the host community by meeting, working, living with and learning from natives.

"It is an absolute honor to have received such a prestigious and competitive award," said Palmer. "I am excited to be part of such a wonderful program."


Founded in 1856, Albright College is a selective, national liberal arts college enrolling 1,700 full-time undergraduates and more than 800 adult learners and graduate students. The College’s flexible interdisciplinary curriculum, strengthened by a close-knit residential learning environment, encourages students to combine majors and disciplines to create individualized academic programs. Close faculty mentorship, numerous experiential learning options, and a diverse, supportive community of scholars and learners help students exceed their own expectations and graduate with a commitment to a lifetime of service and learning. Albright College is located in Reading, Pennsylvania.

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