McKenzie Nelson, who will graduate from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln on May 20 with a Bachelor of Arts in German and global studies, has earned a 2023-24 Fulbright U.S. Student Program award to teach English in Germany.
An Omaha native, Nelson is a member of the University Honors Program. She has explored cultural learning through many academic lenses, pursuing minors in conflict and conflict resolution studies, history, human rights and humanitarian affairs, Jewish studies and political science. She has also developed self-awareness, interpersonal communication and leadership skills through service as a College of Arts and Sciences ambassador and president of the UNL German Club.
Besides studying German, Nelson has taught English language learners in the classroom and engaged in thesis research on teaching gender-inclusive language. She has taught her peers in the German program, Russian students participating in U.S. Department of State virtual study-abroad programs, and adult learners at the immigrant-serving nonprofit Lincoln Literacy Project.
Nelson’s prior study-abroad experiences in Cologne and Berlin also provided valuable insights and firsthand experience with building relationships with German people. As a Fulbright student, she looks forward to using her expertise to create connections with the German people and explore more about how nuances of language, such as gender-inclusive language, is expressed in German-English teaching.
Noting that many Germans may never have met an American from the Midwest, she said, “I can speak to cultural nuances that are often overlooked because they are unique to Nebraska.”
Nelson said she is also excited to learn more about immigration trends and international relationships in Germany and has expressed interest in working with refugee or immigrant populations to ease their transition to German life.
Upon her return to the United States, Nelson plans to pursue a career in the U.S. Foreign Service. Through her Fulbright experience, she aims to develop skills and ambassadorial strengths that will permit her to specialize in public diplomacy and U.S.-Germany relationships.
At Nebraska, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships advises and nominates candidates for 30 supported scholarships and fellowships. To learn more, students and campus community members should contact Director Courtney Santos at firstname.lastname@example.org.