New scholarship endorses German culture studies

Kylie Carlson

A scholarship is now being offered to students interested in expanding their knowledge of German language and culture.

The scholarships will be given in the amount of $1,000, and the largest sum of the scholarship comes from an honorarium given by Bilstein Cold Rolled Steel company.

The Armbrust/McGee German Culture & Work Experience Scholarship fund was created by Heike Armbrust, a German educator of English at the Anne-Frank-Gymnasium in Werne, Germany, and Laura McGee, head of the department of modern languages and professor of German.

“Heike Armbrust and I provided cultural training for Bilstein employees, some who were going from the United States to Germany, and some who were going from Germany to the United States to train,” McGee said. “We provided pre-departure training for them.”

Bilstein is a cold rolled steel company based in Hagen, Germany, that has been shipping steel to North America for 25 years. Bilstein is currently establishing a new production site in Bowling Green, according to the company’s website.

McGee said the honorarium was primarily given to Armbrust, who decided to donate it.

“She wanted it to benefit students directly,” McGee said of the English professor. Armbrust has worked with nearly 50 WKU students interested in teaching abroad.

The remainder of the scholarship was financially supported by the two professors, Armbrust and McGee.

The scholarship is not limited to students who desire to study abroad through the university. The scholarship could also be used to fund a German-based project on campus, McGee said.

“It is actually defined as for students who want to deepen their understanding of language and/or German culture,” McGee said.

The first recipient, Crystal Belcher of Bowling Green, put the scholarship toward a one month study abroad trip to Marburg, Germany. During her trip, she was with 62 other students from 26 other countries, she said.

“I improved my German language skills being fully immersed in its culture and language,” Belcher said. “The trip made a big difference in my life. I was immersed in the German language, yet we learned so much about other cultures that I learned that I love culture and language.”

The scholarship was established this past summer and is available to all WKU students with an interest in German language and culture.

Reporter Kylie Carlson can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @kentuckylie.