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5/23/2007 Linfield students earn Fulbrights, Austrian government award

McMINNVILLE – Three Linfield College seniors will study or teach abroad next year after earning awards from the Fulbright Program and the Austrian government.

Julia Back of Cascade Locks earned a Fulbright award and will study fur seals in Melbourne, Australia. Ryan Jones of Twin Falls, Idaho, earned a Fulbright award and will study and teach in Innsbruck, Austria. Jason Tashea of Anchorage, Alaska, received an Austrian government teaching assistantship awarded by the Austrian Ministry of Education.

Fifteen Linfield College graduating seniors have won Fulbright grants since 1999. In fact, Linfield was named a top producer of Fulbright awards for bachelor's institutions in the Chronicle of Higher Education last fall. The grants are designed to fund study, research and teaching in other countries to promote a greater understanding of different cultures and nationalities.

Back, a 2003 graduate of Cascade Locks High School and the daughter of Dewayne and Teresa Back of Cascade Locks, will receive a degree in biology and anthropology during commencement exercises at Linfield on May 27. She has been accepted to a master's program at Deakin University and will investigate the behavioral responses of Australian fur seals to boat-based disturbances at a breeding colony on Kanowna Island, off the coast of southeastern Australia.

After completing her Fulbright and master's degree in Australia, Back plans to pursue a doctorate in marine mammal biology and conservation. She hopes to teach at the university level, and plans to model her instruction after many of her Linfield professors.

"They've inspired me and been incredibly supportive throughout my time here," she said. "Our professors don't just lecture, they encourage us to have intellectual discussions both inside and outside of the classroom."

Jones, a 2003 graduate of Filer High School and the son of Ron and Carol Jones of Twin Falls, will receive a degree in mass communication and minors in German and music. He will investigate the media’s role in discrimination against Turkish immigrants in Austria.

“I want to see how different newspapers represent Turkish immigrants in comparison to immigrants from other countries,” Jones said.

Jones will also be working in an Austrian high school as a teacher’s assistant in English classes.

“It’ll be a challenge,” he said. “If I were just doing research it would be easy to get removed from a social life."

Tashea, the son of Lyn Tashea and Wayne Tashea of Anchorage and a 2003 graduate of Robert Service High School, will earn a bachelor’s degree in history at Linfield. He will spend nine months teaching English and American culture in both a catholic and private high school in Linz and Wilhering, Austria.

Tashea, who has been active on the Linfield forensics team, said the speaking experience will be beneficial when teaching English in Austria.

“I’ve been coaching debate at the high school and college level for four years and I’m committed to open discussions between people and cultures,” he said.