Five students to study on four continents on Fulbrights

Fulbright Scholars from Colorado State for 2016-17 are (from left) Erin Boyd, Rina Hauptfeld, Tomas Pickering, Suzanna Shugert and Teal Vickrey. Photo by Cisco Mora, CSU Photography.

Five CSU students – the most in recent memory – will be headed to four different continents to study during the 2016-17 academic year, thanks to grants from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Erin Boyd, Suzanna Shugert, and Teal Vickery will be serving as English Teaching Assistants in Germany, Mexico and the Czech Republic, respectively, while Rina Hauptfeld and Tomas Pickering will be conducting research projects in the Philippines and Kenya.

“I would like to congratulate Erin, Suzanna, Teal, Rina and Tomas on this accomplishment,” said Mary Swanson, associate director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Artistry in TILT, The Institute for Learning and Teaching, who facilitated the students’ applications. “The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is one of the most prestigious awards available to graduating seniors, graduate students and recent graduates, and I know that each will represent the United States — and Colorado State — with the utmost professionalism while abroad in their respective countries.”

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program of the United States, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The CSU recipients are among the more than 1,900 U.S. citizens selected this year on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as their record of service and demonstrated leadership in their fields.

Recipients represent the U.S. as a cultural ambassador while overseas, helping to enhance mutual understanding between Americans and the people in their host country. More than 100,000 Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumni have undertaken grants since the program began in 1948, including four from CSU last year.

English Teaching Assistantship

The Fulbright ETA program is an initiative that places grantees in English classrooms around the world where they serve as teaching assistants and cultural ambassadors.

Erin Boyd (Germany)

Erin Boyd is a foreign language and cultural studies student in her final semester at CSU. She studies both Spanish and German and plans to one day learn a third language. She taught Spanish at the elementary school level during her sophomore year and loved sharing the excitement of language learning with her students. Her first major international experience was a semester abroad in England during her junior year.

Erin has been a part of CSU’s German Club throughout her college career and has become enchanted by Germany’s vibrant culture and language, which she finds challenging but exciting and fun to learn. She hopes to use the knowledge she gains living and working in Germany on the Fulbright to eventually work in education abroad, helping U.S. college students to pursue their own adventures all around the world.

Suzanna Shugert (Mexico)

An International Studies and Spanish major at CSU, Suzanna Shugert has extensively pursued her passion for Mexico and the Spanish language throughout her collegiate studies. Last year she studied abroad in Guanajuato, Mexico, and is currently a peer advisor in Education Abroad, where she works to instill a love of international experiences in all students.

The Fulbright grant will allow her to return to Mexico as an English Teaching Assistant. While abroad, she looks forward to learning more about the Mexican education system, building relationships with locals and working on her Spanish fluency.

Although her plans post-Fulbright are not concrete, Suzanna hopes to pursue a teaching certificate to work in a bilingual elementary school and is confident she will never cease to learn more about the world and its remarkably beautiful and diverse inhabitants.

Teal Vickrey (Czech Republic)

Teal Vickrey is graduating with a B.A. in Communication Studies and English this month. Her passion to work with youth began while she was growing up Louisville, Colo., where she loved playing with her little brothers and volunteering at her local library reading with youth in her community. In college she has spent her time volunteering as a Reading Buddy at Cache la Poudre Middle School in Fort Collins and last fall she acted as a mentor for CSU’s very own Campus Connections. She will be returning for her second year as counselor at Rocky Mountain Day Camp  before she embarks on her journey to the Czech Republic in August.

Teal became enamored with Czech culture last spring when she studied abroad in Prague at Charles University. While she was abroad she had the opportunity to teach English at Londýsnká Elementary School. Teal plans to pursue a career in educational leadership upon her return to the United States.

Study/Research Grants

Rina Hauptfeld (Philippines)

Rina Hauptfeld is a doctoral student in CSU’s interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Ecology; her home department is Warner College’s Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. She is interested in social-ecological systems and looks at collaborative and community-based natural resource management, particularly in marine protected areas, through the lens of citizen science. Rina’s dissertation looks at how engagement in resource monitoring influences management and conservation effectiveness in marine areas managed by local communities. She will conduct her dissertation fieldwork January-October 2017 in the Central Visayan region of the Philippines on her Fulbright grant. Rina’s previous work was in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Tomas Pickering (Kenya)

Tomas Pickering first became interested in ecology at a young age. Growing up in Georgia, he liked to chase insects around his house. His love of the tropics began during his undergraduate days at the University of Georgia, where he majored in biology and completed field studies in Malaysia, Panama, and Brazil. Tomas completed his undergraduate Honors thesis on the efficiency of capuchin monkeys using stone tools to crack open palm nuts in Brazil. Upon graduation, Tomas worked as a naturalist guide in Costa Rica for 6 months and then served as a teacher assistant at an elementary school in Texas, before beginning Peace Corps in Malawi. There he worked in community-based natural resource management, becoming interested in community development and agricultural practices. Upon his return to the States, he spent a little over a year working on small farms in Massachusetts and Washington.

Tomas is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in CSU’s Graduate Degree Program in Ecology under the direction of Robin Reid and Kathleen Galvin. For his Fulbright experience, he plans to study community-based conservation in pastoralist communities in Kenya and how these efforts are changing livestock production and rangeland ecology to provide feedback on the costs and benefits for future innovation.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Fulbright Program’s establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. Since then, the Program has given more than 360,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Graduating seniors and graduate students interested in applying for a Fulbright student award should contact Mary Swanson in TILT,, 491-2185. The application deadline for the 2016-17 cycle is in September.