July 27, 2009

Former TTU scholar-athlete Erica Burnham receives Fulbright Scholarship to Germany

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — Erica D. Burnham, a 2009 Tennessee Tech University graduate who consistently hits her mark with her goals, was recently awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student scholarship to Germany to teach English as a foreign language.

Burnham, a former Tennessee Tech rifle team captain who tripled majored in French, German and history, will be one of some 1,500 who will travel abroad for the 2009-2010 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

"I think I speak for the university as a whole when I say that we are very proud to have Erica representing Tennessee Tech," TTU director of athletics Mark Wilson said.

A native of Tok, Alaska, Burnham was an exemplary student-athlete, qualifying for nationals in 2007, serving on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and pursuing her education with focus and self-motivation.

Debbie Barnard, TTU assistant professor of French and Spanish, says Burnham brought unusual experiences and exceptional talent to the university when she accepted her athletic scholarship and traveled from Alaska to Tennessee.

“I’m sure I can safely say she’s the only student I’ve ever had who knows how to kill and dress a moose,” said Barnard. “While growing up in Alaska, Erica learned to play the Celtic harp and started an Irish band that travelled around the state and even competed; she studied French on her own because her school didn’t offer it; she taught herself to knit; and she spent lots and lots of time fishing and hunting with her family.”

Burnham says she will stay in Saxony, Germany, from this September until June 2010 to teach English in the classroom about 20 hours per week while also teaching English outside of a formal classroom.

“I heard about the Fulbright from Dr. Barnard, and it seemed like an excellent opportunity to improve my German and spend time in the country,” said Burnham. “I absolutely recommend that other students apply for a Fulbright. They should start early and have their essays reviewed and edited as much as possible.”
After her Fulbright experience, Burnham plans to attend graduate school and pursue a doctorate in history.