WASHINGTON, Pa. (September 30, 2014)—Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) sophomore Aric Brown has been named the inaugural winner of a scholarship from the German American Business Circle of Pittsburgh (GABC/Pittsburgh).
In addition to the prestige of being named the inaugural winner, Brown will receive a $2,500 scholarship from the GABC and will also be welcomed into a network of German American professionals in the Pittsburgh area.
He was formally recognized for his achievement and presented with the GABC scholarship at the Teutonia Männerchor in Pittsburgh on Sept. 25.
The product of a partnership between the GABC and the Pittsburgh Rotary Club Foundation, the scholarship assists college students in Western Pennsylvania who exhibit exceptional academic abilities and a strong interest in German-American affairs and culture. Ideal recipients are students who plan to pursue higher education at an accredited institution in Germany.
After his high school German teacher told him about the scholarship, Brown applied for it with recommendations from two assistant professors of German in the W&J Department of Modern Languages: Judith Atzler, Ph.D. and Guido Halder, Ph.D.
“Academically, he is highly motivated and is not satisfied by just one answer,” said Halder. “He really wants to know and truly understand grammar concepts or the meaning of a word that has specific cultural connotations.”
Brown said that his love of German language and culture was strongly influenced by his older siblings. “I’m the youngest of six, and four out of my five older siblings took German in high school,” Brown said. “So I thought, ‘All right, I’ll do that too,’ and then, I completely fell in love with the language.”
After studying German for four years at South Park High School, Brown came to W&J where he declared a double major in German and cellular/molecular biology.
To further his undergraduate studies in both majors, Brown plans to spend a semester abroad during the fall of 2015 through the program Pennsylvania Colleges in Cologne, Germany (PCIC). W&J is one of several Pennsylvania institutions that participate in this study-abroad program.
Brown hopes that his semester in Cologne will allow him to become more immersed in German culture. “I hope to take German political classes, art classes, and language classes,” he said.
He also plans to complete a biology-related internship during his semester abroad, and he hopes that one day, he might play a role in improving ties between American and German scientific communities.
“I plan to get my Ph.D. in a field of microbiology – maybe immunology – at an institution in Germany,” Brown said. “Whether I end up at an educational institution or at a private company for research, I really want to improve those ties between American and German scientific researchers.”
Brown said he is grateful to Dr. Atzler and Dr. Halder for their letters of recommendation, and to the entire department for its support.
Atzler said he is a great role model for the next generation of college students. “He shows how important it is to expand your horizon by learning a foreign language and combining it with other interests. In Aric’s case, biology,” she said. “He embraces opportunities presented to him and goes beyond the requirements set forth by any given class.”