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College of Arts and Sciences senior earns teaching Fulbright

Peter GoecknerPeter Goeckner, a Creighton University senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, has earned a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award and will spend 11 months teaching English in South Korea, beginning this summer.

Goeckner, a psychology major from Burlington, Iowa, said he strives to put himself in environments that are out of his comfort zone, an impulse he’s been able to explore in his time at Creighton, with study abroad trips to Spain and Tanzania. The Korean Peninsula will mark his first visit to East Asia and, given the recent spotlight on the region both politically and athletically (the 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in Pyeongchang), he welcomes the opportunity to be present for potentially watershed moments.

“This is a region I know very little about,” said Goeckner, who is Creighton's second consecutive Fulbright Teaching Award winner. “Eastern Asia is known for academic rigor and I thought sure, this would be an interesting part of the world to visit. And I’m going during what could prove to be an interesting time. I look forward to having a perspective on that.”

Currently a Presidential Scholar working in the office of Creighton President Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, Goeckner is the president of the Psychology Honor Society, Psi Chi. He is also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, and the Jesuit Honor Society Alpha Sigma Nu. In the summers of 2015 and 2016, he took part in the ILAC Water Quality Program in the Dominican Republic, and he has also been a part of four fall or spring break service trips to Ecuador, Kansas, West Virginia and Tennessee.

During his study abroad trips, Goeckner said he was inspired by two faculty mentors and former Fulbright Scholars with whom he traveled, Jill Brown, PhD, in the Department of Psychology, with whom he traveled to Tanzania, and Scott Eastman, PhD, in the Department of History, who led the trip to Spain. Goeckner said Fr. Hendrickson also encouraged him to travel and study abroad.

“My parents bestowed on me a love of finding different points of view,” he said. “Creighton has truly helped me foster and expand on that. I’m very excited about this opportunity and am so grateful to everyone at Creighton who has helped me on this journey.”

Goeckner’s future plans include graduate school and pursuit of a doctorate in educational psychology.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright program was created by Congress in 1946, immediately after World War II. Former U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright sponsored the legislation, seeing the program as a step toward building international cooperation.

The Fulbright program remains the largest international exchange program in the U.S., offering opportunities for students, scholars and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools. The Fulbright Program awards approximately 7,500 new grants annually and operates its program in more than 155 countries.

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