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(Springfield) – Niki Lynn Kennedy of Missouri State University was awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant to Germany for an English teaching assistantship, the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board announced recently.

Kennedy, who majored in German and English literature at Missouri State, graduated in May 2014. The Marionville, Mo., native is one of more than 1,800 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2014-15 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential.

“I’ve studied abroad twice in Germany and a chance to work there for a whole year just seemed like a dream come true,” Kennedy said. “For me, receiving a Fulbright grant is an achievement that means I can fully follow my passion of learning German culture and improving my German speaking skills. As the first college graduate in my family, I feel like the Fulbright grant proves that hard work and passion will always be rewarded. I truly believe I would not have been as successful without the help of some wonderful people at Missouri State University.”

Kennedy, who was a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority, also has an interest in helping the community. “Volunteering helped me learn that I have always been passionate about reaching out and working with endangered youth. My Fulbright year will give me an opportunity to help my global community by working with German teenagers, among other things.”

Kennedy plans to attend Washington University in St. Louis to work on a master’s in social work, with an emphasis on international social work, once her Fulbright year concludes.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support.

Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 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.e.gov.

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