Published: Thu Sep 30, 2010Austria will soon welcome two successful Tennessee Tech University graduates who have captured the first Fulbright Research grants for the university since 1979.
Katy Long and Jake Vidourek received the grants to support their internationally focused academic and professional careers.
Long, who received a bachelor's degree from TTU in world cultures/business and German, will attend the Vienna School of Diplomacy. She recently completed an internship at Atlantische Akademie in Reinland-Pfalz, Germany.
Vidourek, who holds degrees from TTU in music and German, will go to Vienna this fall to study the construction and development of the Viennese oboe while teaching English.
"Our past awardees have been exceptional students, but Mr. Vidourek and Ms. Long have distinguished themselves in an extremely competitive selection process," said Debbie Barnard, TTU assistant professor of French.
Long's grant in international relations covers her first year of graduate study at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna; there was one grant advertised, and she got it, She says this experience falls right into line with her career plans.
"I'd like to work for the U.S. Foreign Service and concentrate on European affairs," said Long. "I'll be able to look at issues from an EU perspective during my Fulbright appointment."
Long previously traveled to Austria and fell in love with the culture. As an intern in Germany, she helped set up academic seminars and lectures, focusing on research and logistics.
"My boss was a former politician and we covered topics with international interests, including sports, healthcare bills, and the German election," she said. "It was an eye-opening experience and a great step for completing my major."
Long will work toward her master's degree and focus on economic issues.
"I see a lot of travel in my future, and it will be great to be in such close proximity to a United Nations office," said Long.
Vidourek's grant is in musicology, a field dominated by graduate students. But Vidourek, an oboe performance and German double major, wrote a proposal so impressive that the Fulbright Commission in Vienna found alternative funding for his grant.
He says he's been comfortable with international travel since his early college days, when he received encouragement from Barnard and Heidemarie Weidner, TTU associate professor of English. He's already visited Vienna once and Berlin twice through TTU.
"I traveled to Berlin during my sophomore year and continued to take classes about foreign cities, including Berlin and Vienna," said Vidourek. "I applied for a Fulbright because Dr. Barnard had confidence in me, and I thought I should do it based on her encouragement."
Vidourek will teach 16-18 year olds English as a teaching assistant from October through June. During that time, he will pursue expertise about his chosen instrument, the oboe. The West Chester, Ohio, native learned of TTU from his high school oboe teacher, Julie Fuqua, a TTU graduate from Nashville. He credits William Woodworth, TTU professor of oboe, for recruiting him to TTU and encouraging him in all of his endeavors - both musical and German - during his years at Tech.
"I have no doubt that Ms. Long and Mr. Vidourek will continue to distinguish themselves while in Vienna, and TTU should pride itself on attracting students of their caliber," said Barnard.