Two graduating Hope College seniors will spend a year abroad through awards from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

Tracy Geukes of Bridgman and Kathryn Goetz of Collegeville, Pa., who are both majoring in German at the college, have each received awards to spend a year working as teaching assistants in Germany. They will be informed later of the locations of their placements.

"This is a very competitive program, and I am thrilled with the success that Tracy and Katherine have had," said Dr. Lee Forester, associate professor of German, who helped coordinate the Hope students' application process. "They are wonderful students and I'm very happy that the Fulbright review board was able to see that. Not a bad graduation present!"

After her year in Germany, Geukes hopes to return to the United States and teach German and English at the secondary level. She is also interested in working in the mission field as a teacher.

She spent the fall, 2002, semester studying in Freiburg, Germany. Her activities as a student have included the German honorary society, Gospel Choir, Dance Marathon and New Student Orientation.

Geukes is a 2000 graduate of Bridgman High School, and the daughter of William Geukes of Bridgman and Linda Coleman of Bridgman.

Goetz hopes to return to the U.S. and conduct graduate study in German after her year abroad. Possibilities for the future include teaching or working in foreign relations.

She spent the 2002-03 school year studying in Freiburg, Germany. Her activities at Hope have included serving as a teaching assistant for a history course; the Nykerk Cup competition; Partners in Promise, including as co-president for two years; intramurals; and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

Goetz is a 2000 graduate of Perkiomen Valley High School, and the daughter of Stewart and Carolyn Goetz of Collegeville.

Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries, through the exchange of people, knowledge and skills. Fulbright grants enable foreign national students, teachers, professors and professionals to study, teach, lecture and conduct research in the U.S., and U.S. nationals to do likewise outside of the U.S.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program annually awards approximately 1,000 grants to U.S. citizens, offering opportunities for recent graduates, postgraduate candidates, and developing professionals and artists to conduct career-launching study and research abroad.

Earlier this year, two members of the Hope faculty - retired history professor Dr. William Cohen and English professor Dr. David Klooster - received awards to teach and/or conduct research through the Fulbright Scholar Program.