Student News

Student Accomplishments


Peter Pettersen

The German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst - DAAD) recently announced that Peter Pettersen (German minor, Mathematics major) was selected to participate in its Young Ambassador Program for 2014-2015. Peter had studied in Lüneburg, Germany, and was nominated for the Young Ambassador Program by Cornelius Partsch, Professor German. Peter is the only student in the state of Washington who was selected this year.


In August, Peter was invited by the DAAD to New York City where he and the other North American ambassadors attended a four-day workshop. They acquired the knowledge and skills needed to effectively promote study and research in German on their campuses. They learned about the German higher education and research system as well as the wide range of DAAD funding opportunities.


During the current academic year, Peter will be promoting study and research in Germany here at Western by working in the International Studies Center and with the faculty of the German Section. Check out his profile on the DAAD Young Ambassadors site:


Carla Widman

Carla Widman has been selected to participate in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX), a year-long, federally-funded fellowship for study and work in Germany. Ms. Widman was selected as one of 75 participants (among a pool of over 500 applicants) for this unique fellowship program. Since 1984, over 1,500 Americans have been awarded this opportunity to gain cultural, theoretical, and practical work experience in Germany, and Ms. Widman will be participating in the 28th year of the CBYX program (2011-2012).

While in Germany on CBYX, Ms. Widman will attend a two-month intensive German language course, study at a German university or professional school for four months, and complete a five-month internship with a German company in her career field. Participants are placed throughout Germany, and have the opportunity to learn about everyday German life from a variety of perspectives.

Conceived and supported by members of the United States Congress and the German Parliament [Bundestag], the CBYX program is financially supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State under the authority of the Fulbright-Hays Act. Participants come from nearly every career field, and from all over the United States.

The program is designed primarily for young adults in business, technical, engineering, vocational, and agricultural fields, though candidates in all career fields are encouraged to apply. Participants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents between the ages of 18-24 and have clear career goals and experience in their professional fields. German language ability is not required, but is strongly recommended. Interested applicants can visit for more information.

CBYX is a reciprocal scholarship program. While American participants like Ms. Widman will experience life in Germany, young German professionals will live here in the United States during the upcoming academic year. German participants study at US colleges in the fall and work at local businesses in the spring, all while living with an American host throughout the year. CBYX for Young Professionals is currently looking for interested host families, host companies, and host colleges who would like to take part in this exciting cultural exchange. Anyone interested in becoming involved in the program or hosting a German participant can contact CBYX via email at


Dana Rafter

Dana Rafter, Western Washington University student and Lake Stevens resident, received a Critical Language Scholarship by the U.S. Department of State to study Arabic language and culture in Tunis, Tunisia from May 30-Aug. 1.

The Critical Language Scholarship will fund all expenses for Rafter’s trip, including airfare, accommodation and language courses.

“In Tunisia I look forward to the valuable experience I will gain with the local language and culture,” Rafter said. “I hope to acquire an appreciation of the prospects and challenges facing Tunisia in the wake of its January revolution.”

The CLS Program offers courses designed to develop students’ listening, reading, speaking, spoken interaction, and writing skills. Students will receive a minimum of 20 hours per week of formal classroom instruction. The curriculum will include innovative approaches to language learning and will incorporate technology-based instructional materials in order to promote faster language acquisition in a collaborative and engaging environment.

Rafter, a senior at WWU, is majoring in German and minoring in Arabic and Islamic Studies. He is expecting to graduate this spring. After graduating, Rafter plans to receive his master’s degree in International Relations at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, where he has received a $30,000 Founder’s Scholarship to fund his studies there.

Rafter also received a 2011 National Security Education Program (NSEP) David L. Boren Fellowship to study in Jordan for one year.

Caitlin Golden

Recent Western Washington University graduate and University of Hamburg student Caitlin Golden received a DAAD Graduate Scholarship for the 2011-2012 academic year.

Golden, a resident of Seattle,is being awarded $20,000 for her enrollment in the University of Hamburg’s German Sign Language program as well as a two-month intensive language course.

The DAAD Graduate Scholarship provides highly qualified individuals with an opportunity to do independent study in Germany or to complete a full Master's degree program at a German university.

Golden is the first former student from WWU to receive the scholarship, and she completed the application process while still at Western. She worked closely with the late Christine Compston, former director of the Fellowship Office.

Golden received her bachelor’s degree in German after graduating from WWU last winter. She is fluent in American Sign Language and has been involved in the Deaf Communities of Seattle and Bellingham for 10 years. After completing the University of Hamburg’s two-year master’s degree, Golden plans to receive her Doctorate of Philosophy and become a sign-language linguist.

Sara Hedlund

Sara Hedlund has been granted the DAAD Undergraduate Scholarship to Germany!