April 17, 2020

Two Susquehanna University seniors have been awarded the prestigious Fulbright U.S. English Teaching Assistant award for the 2020-21 academic year from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Brian Herrmann, a German studies major from Hatboro, Pennsylvania, and Erin Wetmore, a German studies and strategic communications double-major from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, will work in Germany’s schools teaching English language and American studies.

It is perhaps appropriate that Herrmann and Wetmore both won awards to Germany, as the two first met when on the same plane headed to the country for their semester abroad through the university’s Global Opportunities (GO) program, Herrmann said.

“Susquehanna prepared me for this award by opening my eyes to wanting it in the first place,” Herrmann said. “My experience in Germany exposed me to a new perspective of the world and imbued me with the desire to expand this perspective even further.”

“It was my GO experience to Germany that really encouraged me to apply for the award,” Wetmore said, and added that her experience was similar to Herrmann’s. “Before that semester abroad, I had never imagined myself teaching, but spending time in Freiburg, Germany, showed me that I wanted to teach and help others learn how to communicate in another language.”

Herrmann and Wetmore were assisted with their Fulbright applications by Martina Kolb, associate professor of German studies and associate director of Susquehanna’s Honors Program.

“I am thrilled for Erin and Brian,” Kolb said. “To know two rising Fulbrighters and their work as well as I have had a chance to, most recently through their capstones in German studies, is one of the biggest satisfactions I can possibly imagine in my job. Even for students who don’t end up receiving awards, it is very important for them to have gone through this process of applying for a competitive award at least once. That way they know how to realistically approach further applications, practice hard work, courage and resilience.”

“[Dr. Kolb’s] mentorship encouraged me to apply for the Fulbright,” Wetmore said. “I could not have done it without [her] help and cannot thank [her] enough.”

“I recognize how much time [Dr. Kolb] put into helping my future and for that I am incredibly grateful,” Herrmann added.

Herrmann and Wetmore hope to use their Fulbright experience as a stepping stone toward their future careers — for Wetmore, something that includes German language, and for Herrmann, academia or in foreign relations.

The English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Programs place Fulbright recipients in classrooms abroad to provide assistance to local English teachers. ETAs help teach English language while serving as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. The age and academic level of the students vary by country, ranging from kindergarten to university level. Applicants for ETA Programs can apply to only one country.