Imagine graduating from college and then traveling to another country for a school year. For Melissa McElroy, this year’s Fulbright Scholarship winner, this is a reality.

Melissa McElroy

McElroy will be studying and working in Germany for the next school year.

According to the Institute of International Education, the Fulbright Scholarship is an international exchange student program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between Americans and citizens of other countries.

McElroy, who started attending ETSU back in 2013, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in German. She graduated in May of this year.

“I decided that after finishing college, I wanted to teach English in Germany,” McElroy said. “I applied for the Fulbright because in my opinion, it’s the best English teaching program for Americans. It has such a long history of international partnership, and I wanted to be a part of that.”

After graduating, she spent the summer working as an intern at Congressman Jim Cooper’s office in Nashville. After completing her internship, she moved to Frankfurt, Germany.

McElroy attributes her move to Frankfurt and achievement of the Fulbright Scholarship to the ETSU German Department.

“I definitely couldn’t have done this without the German Department,” McElroy said. “Dr. Negrisanu is so dedicated to the program; she helped me a lot during my time at ETSU.”

While the German Department on campus was helpful to her, she applied to Fulbright as an “at-large” candidate. An “at-large” candidate is someone not using a university to apply. While most who apply are encouraged to use the university they currently attend or have attended, anyone who does not will fall into this category.

Since moving to Frankfurt, McElroy is part of the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program. She helps the English teachers at a vocational school in the downtown area of Frankfurt.

“Being on faculty at a German school is really interesting,” McElroy said. “Their system is so different from ours.”

Her Fulbright grant goes from September of this year until June of next year.

Anyone interested in applying for the Fulbright Scholarship can go to for more information.