Student Pride

Czech days to last a year for Bednar

Alex Bednar

Anyone who’s read Willa Cather’s My Ántonia or visited the Czech Days festival in Wilber knows that Nebraska has a meaningful relationship with Czech culture. That relationship will grow a little stronger thanks to the Fulbright Scholarship sending senior Alex Bednar (’10) of Grand Island to the Czech Republic for a year of study and teaching.

“I have a strong Czech background on both sides of my family and have been fascinated with the country from a young age,” he said. Bednar graduated in May with majors in history and biology and minors in chemistry and psychology. The double-major/double-minor will teach secondary American culture and English while conducting his own research on the effects of the 1989 Velvet Revolution on the revival of traditional Czech culture.

“I don’t see travel as a pastime,” said Bednar, who has also studied and served in Belize and Zambia. “I see it as an essential part of my education.”

Advantage grad learns language of trust

Matthew CarlsonWhen someone says, “Trust me,” a lot of things play into whether or not you actually do. Matthew Carlson (‘10) is fascinated by these trust issues in communication. Having graduated from Wesleyan Advantage, NWU’s program for working adults, Carlson wants to study how people in tense environments—and the Middle East, specifically—choose to trust or distrust different communication channels.

A Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. State Department is helping him in that work by covering his expenses during a summer-long Arabic language immersion trip to Jordan. His trip follows his efforts to teach himself beginning Arabic and his work with a language tutor.

“Having the opportunity to be in a formal program in full immersion in the country will be incredible,” Carlson said. After returning in the fall, Carlson will begin the communication Ph.D. program at the University of California-Santa Barbara.

Extra mile earns watley NCAA postgraduate honors

Logan WatleyNebraska Wesleyan’s top cross country finisher at this year’s Central Region Championships and NCAA III Championships has earned himself a coveted $7,500 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Logan Watley (’10) of Lincoln was one of just 29 male fall-sport athletes in the nation to earn this award.

The scholarship honors academic and athletic achievement as well as conduct becoming of student-athletes, their universities and the NCAA. Watley will use his scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in accounting or business administration.

With this award, Watley joins an elite group of NWU alumni. Thirty-nine Nebraska Wesleyan student-athletes have earned NCAA Postgraduate honors, a mark that ranks the university fifth among Division III schools.

Rethinking Vietnam

Nikki SpryAs a philosophy major, Nicole Spry (’09) thinks about thought—about how we tend to grapple with thorny issues. Spry’s Fulbright Scholarship will take her to a country that holds an especially complicated place in America’s collective consciousness: Vietnam.

Spry believes that Americans’ focus on the Vietnam War clouds their understanding of the country. “It leaves us unable to recognize Vietnam as the prospering nation that it is today,” she said.

She plans to teach college English in Vietnam and study the country’s strong cultural connection to agriculture—a connection that many Nebraskans can easily relate to. Spry wants to give her students “an opportunity to examine their understanding of how nature intertwines with their cultural ideals, and what larger implications this has for their society’s economic and industrial decisions.”

From campus to Cameroon

Meera BhardwajShe came to Nebraska Wesleyan from Quebec. Once here, she studied abroad in Senegal, conducted research in Rwanda and volunteered for a service learning trip to Malawi. And now, with the help of a Fulbright Scholarship, Meera Bhardwaj (’10) will spend a year in Cameroon to teach English and research Cameroonian women’s organizations.

While Bhardwaj has been around the world, she said, “The international experience that really showed me that the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship was what I should try to do next was right here in Lincoln.” The English major and French and psychology minor taught English to clients from all over the world through the Lincoln Literacy Council.

In Cameroon, Bhardwaj hopes to “listen more than I talk,” and to “pay forward the time and energy that have been expended on me by sharing what I’ve learned with other people, both in the United States and Cameroon.”

German minor seizes major opportunity in Germany

Kyle KarthauserKyle Karthauser (’08), an alumnus English major with minors in Japanese and German, will teach English in Germany thanks to a 2010 Fulbright Scholarship.

Karthauser’s Fulbright win—Nebraska Wesleyan’s 39th, and the 29th of this decade—comes on top of another academic accomplishment. Karthauser’s essay, “Popular Culture after Postmodernism: Borat, The Office, and the Awkwardness of Being Earnest,” appeared in the spring 2010 issue of Anthropoetics, an anthropology journal through the University of California Los Angeles.

The article stems from his senior thesis at NWU, and “explores the generation of awkwardness and its implications as well as its historical and aesthetic contingencies.”