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Students get $20,000 overseas study scholarships

July 23, 2008

KALAMAZOO--This fall, two Western Michigan University students will be continuing their college studies at WMU-partner institutions in Tokyo and Berlin on full-ride scholarships for the 2008-09 academic year.

Both scholarships are valued at nearly $20,000 and cover two semesters of study, including tuition, room and board, and some personal expenses. Selection is based on academic achievement and language proficiency and made by a WMU jury that includes faculty members as well as staff members from the Haenicke Institute for Global Education.

Janelle Garchow, a junior majoring in economics from Belmont, Mich., has received the Keio University Exchange Scholarship and David Gregg, a senior majoring in psychology, from Houghton, Mich., has received the Freie Universitat Berlin Scholarship.

While at their respective universities, both students will be taking non-language courses applicable to their majors as well as immersing themselves in an intensive language program that involves about 25 hours a week of instruction.

Garchow will spend 11 months studying Japanese at Keio, a private, co-educational university that is the oldest institution of higher education in Japan and with which WMU has been an exchange partner since 1961. Gregg will spend 10 months studying German at Freie, a large, urban university of 42,500 students that was established in 1948 and with which WMU has been an exchange partner since 1963.

In the essay Garchow wrote as part of her application process, she noted that studying in Japan will challenge her to solidify and expand the language skills she has learned to date in high school and at WMU.

"Since Keio is in Tokyo, Japan's capital, it's the ideal place to learn about Japan's sustainability initiatives for my (WMU) Lee Honor's College thesis," Garchow said in the essay.

"Also, Keio's economics program is quite strong, and the university's prestige will greatly aid my future graduate school applications for a dual Master of Business Administration/Master of Science program in sustainable business."

Garchow is a great choice to receive the Keio award, said Dr. Stephen Covell, director of WMU's Michitoshi Soga Japan Center and the Mary Meader Professor of Comparative Religion.

"Ms. Garchow has proven herself time and again as a top-notch student of Japan here at WMU. Not only has she worked hard to study the Japanese language, but she also has sought out opportunities to expand her knowledge of Japan," said Covell, who met Garchow when she participated in his Japanese Religion and Culture study abroad program in 2006.

"In addition to a sterling academic record, one of the key qualities necessary for this award is the ability to act as an ambassador of WMU to one of our oldest partners in Japan and to all of our Japanese alumni and friends. On my 2006 Japanese Religion and Culture study abroad seminar, she demonstrated just such qualities in her interactions with our Japanese hosts, the Japanese students we met and with her fellow WMU travelers."

In the essay Gregg wrote as part of his scholarship application process, he said he hopes to conduct psychology research while in Germany, in addition to his academic work.

"I have a strong interest in world issues and take every opportunity to meet people from other countries," Gregg said. "There is a certain energy and curiosity found in visiting different countries that I love. If I were to find an opportunity to research psychology while in Germany, it would be an outstanding addition to my professional credentials."

Gregg, who hails from Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, applied for WMU's spring 2006 short-term study abroad program in Bonn, Germany, because he wanted to get out in the world, said Dr. Peter Blickle, WMU professor of German.

"In Bonn, David bloomed. He excelled in everything," Blickle said, adding that after returning to campus, Gregg went on to become an active member of the Department of Foreign Languages and earn an overall grade point average of 3.85.

"David did excellent work as the German representative on the Department of Foreign Language's Student Focus Group, a group put together by the chair for the department's academic program planning. He also received the Preis der Bundesrepublik, the "Prize of the Federal Republic of Germany," at the department's spring 2008 awards ceremony."

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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