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W&L's Sarah-Jean Vallon Awarded Fellowship for Study in Germany

by Sally Platt ’14

Sarah-Jean Vallon, a senior mass communications major and studio art minor from Hewlett, N.Y., has received a Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) fellowship.

Competition for CBYX fellowships is highly competitive. Vallon was chosen from a pool of 700 applicants following interviews in February.

“We spoke some German and were asked questions to gauge how we would cope with culture shock,” Vallon explained.

She will spend a year studying and interning in Germany, where she hopes to immerse herself in German culture while, she said, furthering “positive relations between German and American millennials.” She hopes to bridge the culture gap and promote mutual understanding by, among other activities, participating in the many carnival celebrations in Germany, particularly Oktoberfest. CBYX will place Vallon in her city of residence after her July arrival.

She also plans to travel around the country and to visit its many castles, “especially the Neuschwanstein Castle, because it served as the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle,” she said.

Vallon, who has studied German for two years at Washington and Lee, is pleased about the chance to improve her fluency in a native setting. In addition, through the internship part of the program, she hopes to use her communications degree.

At Washington and Lee, Vallon serves as president of the Student Association for Black Unity (SABU) and as the Multicultural Advisory Board representative on the Student Activities Committee. In addition, she hosts two radio shows on campus radio station WLUR and is a founding member of the Sexual Health Awareness Group (SHAG).