Valparaiso University 2014 Alumni Awarded Prestigious Fulbright Grants

rot1Two 2014 Valparaiso University graduates join an accomplished group of Fulbright grant recipients, bringing the total to 30 Valpo grantees in the past 15 years. Noah Finegan ’14 and Ryan Huffman ’13, ’14 M.A. accepted Fulbright grants to study and teach abroad in Austria and Taiwan during the 2014-2015 academic year.

In November 2013, Valpo was recognized by the United States Department of State as one of the colleges and universities that has graduated the most 2013-2014 Fulbright United States students. The Fulbright Program annually awards grants to approximately 1,500 students to study, teach English, and conduct research in more than 110 countries throughout the world. The grants allow students to bridge the gap between their studies and the workforce as they enhance their knowledge of both other cultures and their own skills and ambitions.

“It is an honor for the hard work and dedication of Valpo students and alumni to continue to be recognized by the Fulbright Program,” said Mark R. Schwehn ’67, Valparaiso University provost. “This distinction reflects the high academic standards we hold for all Valparaiso University students, and I am confident that Noah and Ryan will continue to succeed in their future endeavors.”

Noah Finegan, of Ishpeming, Mich., graduated from Christ College — The Honors College with a major in German. He accepted a United States Teaching Assistantship in Austria managed by the Austrian-American Educational Commission for 2014-2015. Finegan spent a semester at Valpo’s study center in Reutlingen, Germany, followed by a summer internship in a German town hall. He has taught at the Concordia Language Villages in Bemidji, Minn., at the Longbridge English Camp in Langenbruck, Switzerland, and in the Kinder Lernen Deutsch program at the Kade-Dusenberg German House on Valpo’s campus.

Ryan Huffman, of Valparaiso, Ind., received his Bachelor of Arts in Chinese and Japanese Studies from Valpo in 2013, graduating summa cum laude, and his Master of Arts in Chinese Studies in 2014. He will teach in Taiwan during the 2014-2015 academic year on an English Teaching Assistantship. Huffman studied at Valpo’s study center in Hangzhou, China, as both an undergraduate and graduate student. He has taught Mandarin to high school students and tutored university students in English and Japanese.

“I cannot tell you how excited, thrilled, and honored I am to serve in this capacity,” Huffman said. “I hope that I am successful in my own small way to further the mutual understanding between the Chinese speaking world and the United States.”

Both Finegan and Huffman are eager to gain classroom teaching experience while exploring potential career avenues and expanding their knowledge of different cultures.

“Noah and Ryan are excellent students whose teaching in Taiwan and Austria will be very much in line with our mission as an international Lutheran university,” said Elizabeth Burow-Flak, associate professor and chair of the English department and Fulbright Program advisor. “It has been a joy to work with each of them and to see their work flourish.”

For more information about Valparaiso University, contact Nicole Niemi, director of media relations, at or 219.464.6010.