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Volker Janssen

Calling All Future Fulbrighters

New Adviser Invites Students Interested in Prestigious Study-Abroad Program to Sept. 11 Orientation

September 1, 2009

By Mimi Ko Cruz

Orientation Details

When: 9 a.m., Friday, Sept. 11

Where: Room 815B, Humanities Building

Who: CSUF students or alumni who are U.S. citizens and hold a bachelor’s degree by next summer are eligible to apply for Fulbright grant to study abroad.

Read: Students and alumni are asked to familiarize themselves with the Fulbright website and establish an application account.

Deadline: All applications via CSUF are due by 5 p.m. Sept. 25.

Contact: Volker Janssen, Fulbright Scholar student adviser, 657-278-2360,

Volker Janssen, assistant professor of history, is Cal State Fullerton’s new Fulbright Scholar adviser and he is ready to help students and alumni prepare for and apply for the prestigious study-abroad program.

The German born professor, Janssen was himself a Fulbright Scholar as UC San Diego doctoral student a decade ago. He takes over adviser duties from Jochen Burgtorf, professor of history, who held the post for five years.

Janssen said that his Fulbright experience “was not just an exciting year abroad, but the beginning of an entirely new life.”

He had arrived in the U.S. originally intending on getting his master’s degree in U.S. history and then returning to Germany to continue working in radio journalism.

“But the quality of the education here, and my exposure to archival work in my training as a historian really got me hooked on my discipline and the academic life here,” Janssen said. “My research interests concerned the history of California prisons, something I first looked into back at Hamburg University in Germany.”

As a result of the year he spent researching history as a Fulbright Scholar, he produced research papers and received the Best Graduate Student History Research Paper at U.C. San Diego two years in a row.

“It was the foundation for my publishing since then,” he said, adding that he is revising his dissertation, “"Convict Labor, Civic Welfare: Rehabilitation in California's Prisons, 1941-1971," for future publication.

The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs sponsors the Fulbright Program, which was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Sen. J. William Fulbright (D-Ark.). Since its inception, more than 273,000 participants have been chosen to observe each other’s political, economic and cultural institutions, conduct research, study and teach. More than 43,000 U.S. students, faculty members and professionals have engaged in similar activities abroad.

Janssen said he wants Cal State Fullerton’s students to “become more ambitious in their quest for new experiences” by applying for a Fulbright grant to study abroad. He will lead an orientation meeting at 9 a.m. Sept. 11 in Room 815B of the Humanities Building.

“I understand that these are difficult times, and that most students already face obstacles in completing their education on their terms and on their time schedule,” he said. “But it is more worthwhile than ever. … I would like every student to be interested in international exchange and a hands-on experience abroad. As far as I am concerned, every talented student can benefit from taking a leap and exposing herself/himself to a foreign world. We need international understanding more than ever, and individuals with an appreciation for different viewpoints remain highly valuable in academia, in the marketplace and in society.”

Landing a Fulbright fellowship, Janssen said, “recognizes maturity and intellectual flexibility and helps any student stand out in the academic world and in the job market. It can be a life-changing experience.”

It was for Janssen.

“Coming from Germany, I had to no other way to afford graduate school here in the U.S., so without the Fulbright, I would not be in this country, and I would be doing a different job somewhere else,” he said.

Several CSUF graduates have been awarded Fulbrights. They include: Diana Lira, Brittany R. Franck, Christine Brackett and "Andrea C. Cano."

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