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Allison Glasscock (left) and Erin Huggins will work as English teaching assistants.
April 07, 2010
MONMOUTH -- Until two weeks ago, friends and Western Oregon University students Allison Glasscock and Erin Huggins said they felt a twinge of uncertainty about where life would lead them after graduation this June.
Glasscock wants to pursue a doctorate in philosophy, while Huggins plans on hunting for a job as a newspaper or magazine journalist.
But it now looks as though that pivotal decision making can wait at least another year.
Glasscock and Huggins were tapped in late March to receive grants through the U.S. State Department's prestigious Fulbright Program.
For nine months, Glasscock and Huggins will work as English teaching assistants in middle schools or high schools in Germany.
The Fulbright application process is extremely competitive, with only 1,500 college students accepted into the program a year, according to the state department. Glasscock and Huggins are only the third and fourth WOU students to earn a grant in the last five years.
Glasscock said she realizes there is a novelty in both she and Huggins being selected. They became friends about a year ago, through shared experiences studying abroad in Germany.
Both are semi-fluent in German. Huggins lives with Glasscock's parents. And they were the only students from Western accepted into the program in 2009-10.
"It seemed unlikely that two people would be selected from the same school, to the same (specific Fulbright teaching) program, to the same country," Glasscock said.
"But sometimes, life works out that way."
Glasscock has worked as a tutor in WOU's student learning and writing centers.
She said she was elated and relieved when she received her acceptance letter a few weeks ago; she had been coping with a string of rejection letters earlier this year from graduate programs she applied to.
"My initial reaction when the envelope came was that it was thin, so it must be another rejection," she said with a laugh.
Huggins is the editor of Western's student newspaper, The Journal, is a German club member and has interned for the university's public relations department. She worked as an intern for a German newspaper last summer, and will lead WOU students on a volunteer trip to the country in July.
"Three months wasn't long enough last time," she said.
Huggins said she and Glasscock have applied to work in different regions of Germany.
"But to find out we're both going," she said, "and will be about a five-hour train ride from one another, that's exciting."
What is the Fulbright Program?
The Fulbright Program is a 64-year-old federal program designed to increase understanding between the United States and other nations. It operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.
Participants are chosen based on academic merit, leadership ability and experience abroad, according to the state department Web Site.