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SMC alumna receives Austrian Fulbright

Justin Tardiff | Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Leticia Baltes, a Saint Mary’s alumna, departs for Weiz, Austria this month as part of the Austrian Fulbright Program.

Baltes received one of the one hundred nominations to the U.S. English Language Teaching Assistantship Program in Austria. This program differs from other Fulbright programs in that grantees are insured and paid through the Austrian government, not the U.S. State Department.

Baltes earned a Bachelor of Arts from Saint Mary’s in 2001 with a major in humanistic studies and minor in public relations, in addition to a minor in German from Notre Dame.

Six months following graduation, Baltes volunteered with the Holy Cross Associates, serving in a homeless shelter in Phoenix, Ariz. She then returned to her hometown of Dayton, Ohio and worked as a substitute teacher until accepting the position of assistant general manager of the Dayton Courtyard by Marriott.

However, it was her experience studying abroad through the Notre Dame Innsbruck program sophomore year that turned Baltes towards other abroad opportunities.

“Coming back to Austria will be like coming back to a familiar place,” she said.

Baltes enters the program hoping to break down common stereotypes many Europeans hold of Americans.

“I hope to teach my students to look beyond the media, to think for themselves and to keep an open mind,” she said.

Baltes also plans to seize this opportunity to submerge herself in the Austrian culture.

“I really want to immerse myself in Austrian life and I think that will be possible, as I will be the only American teaching in the small town of Weiz,” she said.

Graduating seniors or recent graduates are encouraged to apply for various Fulbright programs. The campus application deadline for the Fulbright Study Grant, which requires a University nomination, is Sept. 18. The Austrian Fulbright Teaching Assistantship application deadline is Feb. 15.