Scholars to shine overseas

By Allie Ward

When it comes to college acceptance letters, a small envelope in the mailbox isn’t usually a good sign.

That may be why Sarah Khatcherian, who is pursuing a master’s degree in voice pedagogy on the Westminster campus, was a little hesitant about opening her letter from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

“It was a small envelope, so I didn’t know,” she said. “Then it said ‘We are pleased…’ and I was in shock.”

Khatcherian and Rebecca Lynch, a senior elementary education and German double major on the Lawrenceville campus, recently received Fulbright awards, which are really more like grants.

The Northwestern University Web site explained that “the Fulbright Program gives almost 1,500 American students in more than 100 fields of study grants to study, teach English and conduct research in more than 125 countries throughout the world.”

Lynch, through the Austrian Fulbright Commission, will be helping students learn English by assisting a teacher at a school in Austria.

“I have studied abroad in Austria for six months before, and I have family over there,” she said. “I cannot wait.”

Khatcherian, the South Brunswick Extension Coordinator for Westminster Choir College and a voice teacher, will be continuing her thesis project in Germany.

“I’ll be analyzing people’s voices through computer technology to see if I can determine some sort of pattern,” she said. “It’s a new domain to use voice technology for voice teaching.”

According to Dr. Adriano Duque, director of External Honors and professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Lynch and Khatcherian are only the third and fourth student Fulbrighters in the University’s history.

“[Fulbright] is the most prestigious award a student can get,” he said. “It’s intended to foster communication between different cultures in different countries.”

The program was established in 1946 and allows students a hands-on learning experience abroad.

Khatcherian, who graduated from Westminster with a degree in voice performance in 2000, looks forward to her trip.

“I’ve been to Berlin, but never for an extended period of time,” she said. “I’m just excited to learn.”

For Lynch, whose roots are in Austria, this is a chance to connect with family.

“One of the main reasons I started studying [German] is because my last living grandparent over there died and I didn’t know the language to be able to speak to him,” she said. “I lost the chance to get to know him because of the language barrier, so now I have that opportunity to use the skills to form a connection with my family.”

Lynch believes she will have a positive impact on her students.

“My hope as a future teacher is that by teaching students a language, I can help them overcome the same language barrier that I faced,” she said.

To learn about Fulbright, contact Dr. Duque at aduque@rider.edu. The deadline for applications is Sept. 20.

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