Trio of students earn selective German fellowships

by Matt Overing

Centre College News
A campus shot of Olin and Young Hall

The global education offered to Centre College students doesn’t end with study abroad programs.

This summer, many students will be continuing their education around the world thanks to fellowships, scholarships and internships.

Three graduating seniors will extend their education in Germany during the coming year with prestigious fellowships.

“Having worked with all three students at the draft and/or interview stages of the application process, I'm excited they will be able to explore their varied individual interests in Germany,” said Robert Schalkoff, director of the office of fellowships. “I would love to see more students competing for fellowships for study and research in Germany.”

Sam Adams ’24, John Bingaman ’24 and Mrunali Damuluri ’24 will each be working and living abroad, and each student credited the College’s German program in the developing their interest in the country and preparing them for the application process.

“I am excited to see more opportunities for students of German but also beyond German studies to work, intern and study in Germany after graduation,” said Katrin Bahr, assistant professor of German. “We have worked hard to advertise those opportunities to faculty in other programs over the past year.”


Sam Adams was selected as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. Read more about Sam and Centre’s other Fulbright scholars here.


John Bingaman

John Bingaman '24

Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX)

Young Professional Award

 Bingaman’s decision to apply for the program was rooted in his interest in cultural immersion and career experience.

 A theatre major and Louisville, Kentucky, native, Bingaman said he was looking on the U.S. government website for fellowships through the Department of State. 

“I wanted to go to a culture that wasn’t my own, be immersed while learning about arts management,” he said.

CBYX is a cultural exchange that provides 75 Americans and 75 Germans to spend one year in the opposite country, living in an immersive environment in all career fields.

“I’ve had a lot of different experiences, not just in theater but in the performing arts,” Bingaman said. “Being able to study away in New York City, I interned off Broadway and got to work and learn about theater and arts administration, what that looks like as a career field.”

Bingaman used his experience away to pair business skills with the arts upon his return, collaborating with the McDowell Place in Danville to bring together senior citizens with the Centre community for performances.

Now, he’ll get the chance to see how Germany’s art is represented in its culture.

“I really hope to learn more about the way Germany structures its arts, how they prioritize funding and the way arts are received as an integral part of their society,” he said. “I want to bring my experience as an American, and an American who studied theater and performing arts.”

Bingaman acknowledged German professors Katrin Bahr and Ian Wilson as instrumental in helping him with the application process, and Office of Fellowships Director Robert Schalkoff for preparing him with mock interviews and more along the way.

“I’m excited to better understand global-cultural exchange and see different ways to think about how the performing arts can bring together communities,” Bingaman said.


Mrunali Damuluri

Mrunali Damuluri '24

DAAD Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE)

Research Internship

Damuluri will graduate a year early from Centre for a research internship in Germany, typically reserved for graduate students.

“I'm excited to immerse myself in European culture for a couple months while getting to learn from mentors and peers with more experience,” Damuluri said. “I know I am qualified to carry out my project — I feel like I'm a lot younger and less accomplished than a lot of my co-workers. However, I think that's a good thing, because I am going to have a lot of really good mentors and learn new skills that I wouldn't develop otherwise.”

DAAD is a German academic exchange service, with RISE being funded by the German Federal Foreign Office. Damuluri has been matched to BASF, the largest chemical producer in the world, and will be located in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

A chemistry major from Aurora, Illinois, Damuluri spoke with Bahr about the DAAD RISE program after being unable to study abroad.

“Dr. Bahr knew I loved exploring German culture in the class I took with her and thought it would be a good fit. Since Germany was where a lot of chemistry was discovered, I thought working on research there would be a cool and different experience,” she said.

 Damuluri also noted her experience in the chemistry program at Centre helped prepare her for what is to come.

“A lot of spectroscopy techniques that my project leader asked me about in my interview, I explored in labs at Centre,” she said. “The biggest shoutout goes to Dr. (Kari) Young and Dr. (Daniel) Scott, because we used instrumentation in their lab classes to solve real world problems. I feel like once you understand why you're doing what you're doing, using the instrumentation and analyzing the results becomes a lot easier and more meaningful. Their classes, inorganic and analytical chemistry, really taught me how to do that.”

For any students skeptical about applying to internships, Damuluri had simple advice to follow.

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take,” she said. “When trying to find internships and opportunities, apply — no matter how competitive the program may be. You may surprise yourself and get an experience of a lifetime out of it.”


Students interested in exploring the world of fellowships are encouraged to contact Robert Schalkoff at to start a conversation about their goals and passions. The office also shares information via email about opportunities that are specific to class cohorts, from first-year students to seniors.