2024-25 Fulbright: Thursey Cook

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2024-25 Fulbright: Thursey Cook

Color portrait of Thursey Cook on a red campus background
Thursey Cook

Thursey Cook of Ceresco, who will graduate from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln on May 18 with a Bachelor of Science in Education and Human Sciences, has earned a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award to teach English in Germany.

Cook is a secondary education major with an endorsement in English language learning and minors in German and international studies. She graduated from Lincoln Southwest High School and The Career Academy. In 2020, she was one of about 40 students selected to the university’s Teacher Scholars Academy, which has deepened her dedication to education. Her broad spectrum of student teaching placements — including at an affluent Montessori school and a low-income Head Start program — have helped her develop flexibility, critical thinking skills and strategies for fostering inclusivity.

“Thursey is exceptionally hardworking and applies her knowledge and strategic insights to support learners at all levels and from all backgrounds,” said Courtney Santos, director of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships at Nebraska. “She calmly interrupts stereotypes and seeks to dispel stigma, helping all students feel that they can belong and thrive.”

Cook is passionate about advocacy and community building, including work with the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska, the College of Education and Human Sciences’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Board and the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center. She also trained and coordinated 30 student leaders as head of operations for The Big Event, a campuswide partnership with local nonprofits.

Cook said her proudest achievement was establishing Teacher Appreciation Week, passing a bill through ASUN to create student-led systems for recognizing faculty mentors. She has also served off-campus with Community Action Partnership’s Head Start program, the Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Rally and March, and Elements Dance Concept.

Cook said her six-week study abroad experience at the Humbolt Institute in Germany was one of the best experiences of her life. Long fascinated by German language and culture, she has immersed herself in every opportunity to learn, including membership in the university’s German Club and engagement with numerous types of German media, including news stories, TV shows, podcasts, YouTube videos and social media accounts of German content creators and expatriates living in the country.

Cook looks forward to building strong relationships in Germany through hosting a book club, sharing her love of hip-hop dance and volunteering as a student club adviser.

“I fell for Germany, a place that has such a rich culture and yet still welcomes everyone and their differences with open arms,” she said. “I plan on celebrating my own culture while also celebrating theirs, with the knowledge that both can exist in the same space. I know that this opportunity is what I need to grow and move forward.”

After her Fulbright experience, Cook plans to continue to work as a teacher, in Germany or the United States, earn a doctoral degree in education or a related field and become an administrator.

The Fulbright program, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, is supported by an annual appropriation made by Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, as well as partner countries around the world. Fulbright recipients are selected based on academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.

At Nebraska, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships advises and nominates undergraduate candidates for 30 supported scholarships and fellowships. To learn more, students and campus community members should contact Courtney Santos, director of undergraduate research and fellowships, at courtney.santos@unl.edu.

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