Fulbright scholar from Germany chooses CMC-Spring Valley for study semester abroad
A sort of homecoming for 2013-14 GSHS exchange student
For Fulbright Scholar Luise Wollesen, traveling to the United States from her native Germany to study at Colorado Mountain College–Spring Valley during the fall semester was “the best decision of my life.”
The 22-year-old from Hamburg, Germany, is a recent graduate of the Business School Potsdam Campus Hamburg. With a bachelor’s degree in business psychology, she plans to attend graduate school in Germany in the future.
Between degrees, Wollesen was looking for a new academic perspective.
Wollesen is interested in pursuing her master’s degree in international business and sustainability, and was attracted by CMC’s sustainability leadership certificate program.
“I want to learn how to make people care and be aware,” Wollesen said. “My classes at CMC connected fostering sustainable behavior.”
Coming ‘home’ to Glenwood
Wollesen came to CMC Spring Valley at Glenwood Springs through the competitive German-American Fulbright Program.
Once selected, a limited number of German bachelor’s degree graduates receive scholarships to study in the U.S. As one of numerous divisions of the Fulbright Scholar Program, the program also provides scholarships to American students to teach or research in Germany.
Glenwood Springs is familiar territory for Wolleson. She was an exchange student at Glenwood Springs High School during her junior year in 2013-14.
Wollesen’s Fulbright Scholar application included listing the top five American colleges she’d consider attending.
CMC-Spring Valley was high on her list, partly because the faculty and curriculum of CMC’s sustainability studies program piqued her interest. She also learned that, unlike course credits earned at other colleges, her CMC credits would transfer to a master’s program in Germany.
Living in Glenwood Springs with her host family, Paul and Cali Gonzales and their two sons, Wollesen took five classes during the fall semester, ranging from Sustainable Business to Ecology & Sustainability.
Kevin Hillmer-Pegram, associate professor of sustainability studies, taught three of those classes.
“The sustainability studies program is always seeking ways to enhance the learning environment of our students,” he said. “Adding a Fulbright Scholar to the classroom mix definitely achieved this goal.
“Despite being exceptionally humble and friendly, Luise contributed a level of scholarly rigor and professional excellence that elevated everyone’s experience.”
Wollesen said her involvement in the campus’s sustainability club demonstrated to her that each person can make a positive difference through small actions like reusing wrapping paper and using compost instead of fertilizer.
Wollesen also ventured out of the Roaring Fork Valley, attending a three-day German American conference at Harvard, where she shared her learning experiences at CMC with other scholars.
Flying over Colorado in a small Cessna with EcoFlight was another highlight, she said. EcoFlight, a nonprofit environmental aviation organization, takes students on multi-day flights to see and study areas of the American west.
“I’m evolving as a person through this experience,” she said. “I have such a wider perspective now.”
Hillmer-Pegram added that CMC’s sustainability studies program now wants to send its own Fulbright Scholar abroad “who can share our culture of transformative change with another part of the world.”
This story was based on a feature release from the Colorado Mountain College Public Information Office.
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