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W&L’s Catherine McKean ’24 Selected For Fulbright to Germany McKean has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to teach English in Germany.

Catherine-McKean-scaled-600x400 W&L’s Catherine McKean ’24 Selected For Fulbright to Germany

Washington and Lee University senior Catherine McKean ’24 has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) to teach English in Germany. At W&L, McKean is double majoring in biology and German. McKean graduated from North Hagerstown High School.

The ETA program in Germany aims to strengthen educational and cultural relationships between the United States and Germany, with English Teaching Assistants teaching English language and American culture at all levels of German schools and facilitating projects that help students learn how to be global citizens.

Growing up in a military family, McKean moved frequently and lived in many places before attending W&L, including Germany. She is excited to return to the country and give back to the community where she previously lived and from which she has learned so much. For one of her planned community projects, she will be working with her former host school to help develop programming that connects German students with American students from the U.S. Department of Defense Dependents Schools system in Hesse, encouraging friendships and teamwork between the schools.

McKean also appreciates the opportunity to develop important skills that will translate to a future career in medicine focused on under-researched aspects of women’s health.

“The program’s focus on cross-cultural and cross-generational communication will guide me in my journey to provide the best care possible as an obstetrician-gynecologist, and to make healthcare more accessible,” McKean said.

At W&L, McKean has often sought out opportunities that emphasize community, such as the University Singers and writing for the Ring-tum Phi, two organizations that have “overwhelmingly shaped” her student experience.

“Writing for the Phi has been integral to my development as a student writer and an active member of the W&L and Lexington community,” said McKean, who serves as the Arts & Life editor of the student-run publication. “The stories we cover in Arts & Life often highlight the events and accomplishments of underrepresented communities, and it’s been an amazing feeling to be able to celebrate and bring awareness to these fun and interesting parts of our campus.”

McKean is also editor-in-chief of The Radish, a student-run satirical publication, and a writer for InGeneral magazine, W&L’s student life magazine. She is president of the German club, a member of Women in Technology and Science, and involved in Kathekon, a student organization that aims to improve student-alumni relations. She also serves as a student assistant at the W&L health center, a student supervisor of Phonathon with the university’s Office of Annual Giving, and a peer tutor with the Harte Center for Teaching and Learning.

McKean is grateful for the support she has received from her faculty mentors at W&L, including Paul Youngman, associate provost for academic development and operations; Shane Lynch, professor of music and director of choral activities; and Gregg Whitworth, associate professor of biology. She appreciates the academic and personal encouragement they have shown her over the years and credits their patience and reassurance for getting her to where she is today. In turn, McKean’s mentors consider her a “remarkably hard-working, dependable and brilliant student,” and admire her commitment to speaking up and helping others.

“While her academic work is obvious and excellent, I am most impressed by Catherine’s initiative and her willingness to speak her mind, even on difficult topics,” said Lynch. “She leads both by example and by voice, which is the best sort of leader there is. Her work in Germany will tap into her inherent skills and will make her an invaluable part of her community.”

With the Fulbright award, McKean will depart in September 2024 for her nine-month program. Upon completion of the program, McKean plans to enter an MD-PhD dual degree program with a specialty in obstetrics and gynecology.

The Fulbright Program was established more than 75 years ago to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Fulbright is the world’s largest and most diverse international educational exchange program. 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’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Washington and Lee University is proud to be included on the list of U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most 2023-2024 Fulbright U.S. Students for the sixth consecutive year.

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