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W&L’s Matt Tinsley ’22 Awarded U.S. Teaching Assistantship to Austria  After his USTA program orientation in September, Tinsley will teach in a secondary school in Austria through May 2023.

Me-and-Prager-704x533 W&L’s Matt Tinsley ’22 Awarded U.S. Teaching Assistantship to Austria Matt Tinsley ’22 with Professor Debra Prager

Washington and Lee senior Matt Tinsley ’22 has been awarded a U.S. Teaching Assistantship (USTA) to Austria. A native of Tabernacle, North Carolina, Tinsley majored in physics and minored in German.

Since 1962, Fulbright Austria has partnered with the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research to bring qualified, motivated university graduates from the United States to teach English in Austrian secondary schools and encourage cross-cultural dialogue. After completing his USTA program orientation in September, Tinsley will teach in his assigned secondary school from October 2022 to May 2023.

“It means a lot to be awarded this opportunity. This will be my first time out of the United States, and the assistantship will allow me to expand my horizons and experience a culture I’ve spent the past three years studying,” Tinsley said. “It will also give me exposure to conducting classroom instruction, which will help me when I transition to graduate school.”

During his undergraduate career, Tinsley was a member of the football team. He credits the German Department at W&L, particularly Professor Debra Prager, for mentoring him as his career aspirations took shape.

“From teaching me German language skills to helping me with my resume, she was awesome,” Tinsley said.

Prager described Tinsley as “curious, open-minded and hardworking.” She encouraged him to apply to the USTA program last fall not only because of his talent and persistence in pursuing his German minor, but because of his natural abilities as a leader and his potential as a global citizen.

“What has been so rewarding and exciting to witness has been Matt’s own path of self-discovery and the burgeoning realization that in addition to having a mind for science and engineering, he is also really good at learning a language, reading literature and developing the ability to explore and understand cultural differences,” Prager said.

Prager said the W&L German Department is proud to have had at least one student serving in the Austrian USTA program for each of the last 12 years. Tinsley will be one of three recent W&L graduates teaching in the program this fall.

“Over the years, our program participants have all conveyed to me that their time in Austria was a critical turning point in their lives, personally, socially and intellectually,” Prager said. “In recent years, our USTA alumni have gone on to study international law and international affairs, and to study at the Diplomatische Akademie Wien.”

After completing his USTA assignment, Tinsley plans to pursue a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering at North Carolina State University.

Washington and Lee University is proud to be included on the list of U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most 2021-2022 Fulbright U.S. Students for the fourth consecutive year.

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