A track champion becomes a Fulbright Scholar in Germany
Chris Stadler ’12 used a gap year between high school and college to attend school in Germany as part of the Youth for Understanding exchange program. He returned to Germany for two months as a Cornell Fellow to experience the operational side of the program that had provided his own exchange experience.
Now he is back for a third time, as a Fulbright Scholar. He is one of 140 students selected by the U.S. Department of State to teach English in Germany during the 2012–2013 school year.
Stadler came to Cornell from Portland, Ore., and completed degrees in international relations, politics, and German. He said that he was able to complete three majors, in part, because of the language proficiency and course credits he gained by attending school in Germany during his gap year.
“I am incredibly grateful to receive the Fulbright award and return again to Germany,” he said. “I hope I can influence many German pupils to travel and live abroad when they’re my age. The experience makes you realize just how varied and complex the world really is—it’s very humbling.”
Stadler credits his exchange experience with giving him a high degree of focus his first year at Cornell, including an early inspiration to pursue a Fulbright or similar program. He noted that the award is not just recognition for his academic work, but the culmination of an intentional process that included a variety of academic and co-curricular experiences.
Notably, he worked as a peer consultant in the Writing Studio for two years, provided English-language tutoring to adults during his senior year, served as fundraising chair for the Sigma Kappa Psi service fraternity, completed a capstone research project on international human rights with politics Professor David Yamanishi, and ran on the cross country and track teams, earning three conference championships and one second place in relay events.
“The best thing about Cornell is that there are allies everywhere who want you to succeed,” he said, noting that numerous Cornell staff and faculty helped him identify opportunities and build the skills necessary to be a successful and well-rounded student and grant applicant. He is especially grateful to the Writing Studio staff and Coach Dan Schofer for providing some of his strongest support and most formative learning experiences.
“Working under Laura Farmer and Shawn Doyle in the Writing Studio and helping students from across campus with their essays is where I really learned to write, and the experience taught me that writing is a process,” Stadler said.
“Similarly, to become a great runner, you have to put in mileage every day,” he said. “Coach Schofer taught me about committing to something that’s tough for a long period, and that if you don’t do the work you will not achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself.”
Stadler plans to pursue his passion for international conflict resolution through graduate studies in a field such as peace studies or international law. But his more immediate interest, following his Fulbright year, is in building deeper international experiences through further travel and service work, possibly through the Peace Corps.