Condray Receives Checkpoint Charlie Award

Kathleen Condray, associate professor of German, has been awarded the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation Teacher Award for her outstanding work with the International Engineering Program at the University of Arkansas.

 The award is presented annually to exceptional teachers of German in recognition of their contributions to the profession. The award includes a travel grant that enables the recipients to visit Germany in the upcoming year and to participate in the Education Enrichment Program (EEP), which the foundation organizes as part of its School Teachers Exchange Program (STEP) for multipliers in American education.

 The visit to Germany is intended to further cultural exchange between Germany and the United States and serve as a commendation for long-term, outstanding German instruction in the USA.

 Condray said she is extremely grateful to have been selected for the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation Teacher Award.

 “I didn't know that my fantastic colleagues were putting me up for this national award, so when I got the letter of congratulations from the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) president, I almost wrote him back and told him he had the wrong person,” she said. “These kinds of awards require huge dossiers to nominate someone, and I'm just so grateful to my colleagues for putting in the time.”

 Condray has long been interested in interdisciplinary approaches at the university level and in encouraging students to gain experience in the real world with their language skills early and often in their college careers.

 In 2010, she created a program that was approved by the Board of Trustees that allows students to add German as an additional major to their existing degree in their home college. 

 “Regarding the International Engineering Program, I first heard about the pioneering work of John Grandin of the University of Rhode Island in 1999 when I was a graduate student,” said Condray. “His novel approach at the time was to allow engineering majors to simultaneously earn language degrees and to get them experience working abroad prior to graduation.”

 “Ever since, I have been reaching out to the College of Engineering occasionally to see if I could find an interested partner in creating a similar program here.”

 Condray partnered with Dr. Bryan Hill, associate dean of engineering, to launch the IEP in 2015. Currently, there are 50 students enrolled in the program; five of them will be going abroad next year to study at the Technical University in Darmstadt and work for German companies.