Luther College alumna Kristen Carlson receives Fulbright Award

Recent Luther College graduate Kristen Carlson was selected for a 2018-19 Fulbright U.S. Student Award to Latvia from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Carlson will support the teaching of English at Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Music Academy and Riga Teika Secondary School in Riga, Latvia, as part of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship.

Carlson, the daughter of Timothy and Kathleen Carlson of Austin, Minnesota, is a 2018 graduate of Luther. While at Luther, she triple-majored in communication studies, music and philosophy. She is a 2014 graduate of Austin High School.

"When I found out about the grant I was excited for the opportunity to spend an entire school year immersed in another culture. I have always been a naturally inquisitive and adventurous person, so the Fulbright grant meant that I would be able to teach and learn in an environment that would challenge and inspire me," said Carlson  

 Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields.

The highly competitive Fulbright foreign scholarship award provides funds for a year's educational experience abroad, including travel, health insurance and a monthly stipend to cover living expenses.

"When initially considering my application I felt that my personal strengths and what the Baltic countries were looking for in an English Teaching Assistant fit together well. I was eager to apply to a program that especially valued community service and outreach as these have been strong points of growth for me in college. Additionally, I was excited for the opportunities that I might have to explore communication studies research in a country that has such an interesting background historically and culturally," said Carlson.

The Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship program, an element of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and those of other countries by providing a native English speaker in their schools.

"I hope that through my time in Latvia I can truly immerse myself in a community there. Not only do I want to learn more about the Latvian language and schooling system, but I want to get to know people and places. I trust that the Fulbright program will stretch me in ways I cannot even imagine and will provide new connections and ideas.

"It is an honor to represent the communities that I come from through the Fulbright program because these foundations have given me so much. I am grateful to all who have mentored me in my college education at Luther and excited to be able to go out in the world and apply concepts learned in the classroom. I hope that I can be a positive cultural ambassador for the U.S. abroad and can continue to explore the ways in which we all are world citizens," said Carlson 

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 380,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, professionals and scientists—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential—with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. More than 1,900 U.S. citizens in more than 100 different fields of study are offered Fulbright Program grants to conduct research, teach English, and provide expertise abroad annually. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program operates in more than 150 countries throughout the world. Lists of Fulbright recipients are available at: www.fulbrightonline.org/us.

The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the United States Congress to the Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support.

In the United States, the Institute of International Education administers and coordinates the activities relevant to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program on behalf of the Department of State, including conducting an annual competition for the scholarships.

The Fulbright Program also awards grants to U.S. scholars, teachers and faculty to conduct research and teach overseas. In addition, some 4,000 new foreign Fulbright students and scholars come to the United States annually to study for graduate degrees, conduct research and teach foreign languages.

For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit http://eca.state.gov/fulbright.

Fulbrighters address critical global challenges in all areas while building relationships, knowledge and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 59 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 84 who have received Pulitzer Prizes, 71 who are MacArthur Foundation Fellows and 37 who have served as a head of state or government. Among the most prominent grantees are:

  • Gary Conille, Former Prime Minister of Haiti;
  • John Hope Franklin, noted American historian and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient;
  • Muhammad Yunus, founder, Grameen Bank, and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient;
  • Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia;
  • Riccardo Giacconi, physicist and 2002 Nobel Laureate;
  • Amar Gopal Bose, founder, Bose Corporation;
  • Renée Fleming, soprano; and
  • Daniel Libeskind, architect.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,050, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.