Hall receives Fulbright award

Kevin Hall has received notification of the award of a Fulbright grant. Hall, a 2012 CMU graduate from Caro, earned his B.A. in History and German and is currently working toward his M.A. in History at CMU. He is one of 140 people from across the country, chosen from a pool of hundreds of applicants, to be offered an English Teaching Assistantship in Germany.

The Fulbright program is sponsored by the U.S. government and strives to increase mutual understanding between U.S. citizens and people of other countries. Recipients are expected to represent the U.S. as cultural ambassadors. The Fulbright, according to the U.S. Department of State’s website, is “the most widely recognized and prestigious international program in the world.” It has been active for more than fifty years, and Hall will join a vast group of talented Fulbright alumni.

Fulbright recipients are selected on the strength of their personal and professional achievements. Scholars must demonstrate a potential for leadership in their respective fields.

After completing his Fulbright, Hall plans to finish a Masters in History at CMU. He eventually plans to earn his doctorate. As a career, Hall is considering becoming a professor of modern German history, an archivist or working in international relations between Germany and the U.S.

Hall will teach in a high school; however, has not yet been notified of his exact placement. He has been to Germany six times and has had three internships in Germany: one with Volkswagen in Wolfsburg and one with BASF in Ludwigshafen. He is currently doing an internship with Meyer Werft, a shipbuilding company. During all these internships, Hall has worked in company archives.

Hall has also completed several research projects about German history. Following his internship at Volkswagen, he wrote a paper about the forced labor used by the company during the Second World War. He has compared and contrasted the secret police forces of the German state during the WWII and of the East German state following the war, and has researched and written about the pacifism of Hugo Junkers, an airplane designer and manufacturer in the early 20th century. His current project, which he plans to use for his Master’s thesis, involves former German Prisoners of War and the internment of enemy aliens in the U.S. during WWII.

Hall’s rich family heritage is what drew him to the country. “My grandmother’s family came from Germany in the early 1900s,” Hall wrote in an email. “Additionally, my Grandfather was involved with the Berlin Airlift and was stationed in Germany.” Hall took German classes in high school and traveled there for two weeklong trips. Those trips, along with the influence of his high school teacher Mr. Omstead, Hall wrote, are what sparked his passion for the country.

One of Hall’s professors and mentors, Dr. Eric Johnson, in the History Department, said that Hall is one of the most talented students he has seen in 30 years of teaching. “He has integrity, backbone, curiosity, true interest, modesty and an ability to finish the work he wants to do. Some guys go off and start things and they don’t finish them. Kevin finishes,” Johnson said. In a seminar class that included doctoral students as well as undergraduates, Johnson said Hall still produced a distinguished paper that included original research and interviews.

Johnson is a Fulbright Scholar himself, and taught at the University of Cologne, in Germany. As a result, he served on the board that decided which students to refer to their application countries for further consideration, and Johnson said Hall possesses all the qualities the board would look for. “Sometimes you get things and often you don’t. That’s the way life is, but at least Kevin got this. I don’t know who would be more deserving of it,” Johnson said. “I couldn’t be prouder of him, truthfully.”

To be accepted for a German Fulbright ETA, the applicant must be proficient in German. Hall wrote that between his internships, study abroad experiences and classroom experiences, he has become a confident and experienced speaker. However, he wrote that “there is always more to learn.”