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Charlotte Gates

Charlotte Gates is a Fulbright Scholar graduating this semester with a major in German and English

Graduate receives Fulbright to teach English overseas

Graduating summa cum laude with a recently acquired prestigious scholarship under her belt, Charlotte Gates received the Fulbright Scholarship and has an even longer list of honors to her name.

Gates served as the German Club president, UNM Presidential Scholar, two-year Limina: UNM Nonfiction Review editor, Conceptions Southwest staff member and a Greek Honor Society member with both Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi.

Gates also completed a nonfiction honors English thesis to cap off her senior year. She will graduate with a degree in English and German with a minor in Honors Interdisciplinary Arts. Throughout her education at UNM, she said she has been rooted in the German community, not just because of her study of the language.

“When I started studying German at UNM, I didn’t even know if I wanted it to be my minor,” Gates said. “I started out just thinking, ‘Okay, I learned this language in high school, I should keep doing it because otherwise what’s the point of doing it for four years?’ Once I got to UNM … I immediately noticed how friendly the entire faculty was.”

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides international study, research and teaching opportunities to students and young professionals. The program rewards under 2,000 scholarships annually worldwide. Gates’ personal scholarship is a year-long teaching opportunity in Germany, teaching English as a second language, according to UNM’s Fulbright Website.

Last year, Gates studied for six months in Heidelberg, Germany and jumped at the opportunity to return to the country with Fulbright after her experience.

“Prior to leaving (for the exchange), I had thought about the Fulbright potentially … but I definitely wasn’t settled,” Gates said. “I didn’t know what I was doing, and then after having that experience of doing an exchange program, I realized ‘Okay, yeah, I’m all in on this.’”

Associate German professor, Katja Schröter, who has worked with Gates during her undergraduate career, attested to the quality of her character.

“What I really like about Charlotte is her “joie de vivre” or  “Lebensfreude and the enthusiasm she brings to everything. I think she’s very inspiring to other students and she’s always very upbeat,” Schröter said. English has no direct translation for these phrases, but the closest is “soulfulness” or “vitality.”

In the midst of her bilingual pursuits, Gates also completed a creative nonfiction honors English thesis, directed by English nonfiction professor, Greg Martin.

“(Her thesis) explores really difficult, hard truths … and it's really unflinching,” Martin said. “I think the thing that was remarkable to me was that she would give me 20 pages … and I would say, ‘Do you think you could maybe go deeper than this?’ and each time she’d come back, and it would be transformed and she would go deeper and really explore things that she’d been thinking about (for years).”

In the classroom, Martin said it was a pleasure it was to have her as a writing student.

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“She’s so warm and she’s so kind,” Martin said. “She is the person to say the thing in class to the student that is underconfident that’ll make their day … and she’ll mean it. She brings that kindness and warmth into (her thesis).”

Charlotte said her future pursuits are best summed up by her own words:

“I’m not satisfied.”

Gates plans to pursue a master’s degree in the coming years, but wants to fulfill her Fulbright exchange and attend the rigorous German summer school hosted here in New Mexico before making any decisions — deciding to go with the flow rather than walk a strict path.

“Charlotte just needs to keep doing what she’s doing,” Martin said. “There’s some students that actually need my advice … but Charlotte isn’t one of them.”

Jordyn Bachmann is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at or on Twitter @DailyLobo 

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