McMicken College of Arts & Sciences logo

FaceBook   Twitter   Digg!

Invaluable Cultural Immersion Awaits Fulbright Winner

German Studies master’s program graduate will travel to Austria to further her command of the language and apply her experiences to research on the intellectual value of dance.

Date: 6/27/2012
By: Tom Robinette
Phone: (513) 556-8577
Indeed, the hills of Austria are alive with the sound of music and, more interestingly to Cara Tovey, also dance.

Tovey, a spring graduate of the Department of German Studies’ 4+1 master’s program, recently was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Austria. At the end of summer she’ll travel to Klagenfurt, a city near southern Austria’s mountainous border with Slovenia, where she’ll teach English throughout the next academic year.

While instructing students at a specialized higher education academy called a “Hochschule,” Tovey will be immersed in Austrian culture and the German language. Researching the academic merit of dance is one of her long-term career goals. Tovey says the art has been under-represented in academia and the fusion of dance and German language and culture is an interdisciplinary research area where few have tread a ballet-slippered foot.
Cara Tovey will travel to Austria for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship.

“Germany is a great place for dance. They’re really supportive of the arts,” Tovey says. “There’s so much there, and not a lot of it has been looked at from an academic perspective.”

She’s interested in studying the classical libretto ballets in the German Democratic Republic during the mid-20th century and hopes to visit the Tanzarchiv Leipzig dance archive for further research. Ultimately, she wants to show that there’s more to dance than just entertainment – it’s rich in academic and scholarly value, as well.

“People talk about literature, and other forms of art are more featured in academia,” Tovey says. “I think dance is just as worthy of that. The things people are doing with dance today are new and exciting and political, and dance is whatever you want it to be.”

Tovey, from Chester, Conn., has been dancing since she was little. She came to the University of Cincinnati to study ballet at the College-Conservatory of Music but soon found that while she loved the art of dance, she wanted something different than a dancer’s lifestyle. At the time, she was most excited about her German Studies classes, and she was drawn in by the enthusiasm of the department faculty, such as Department Head Katharina Gerstenberger and associate professor Todd Herzog. So Tovey switched majors and wound up finding a prospective career.

“I thought if this is going to be my career, the example set by UC’s German Studies Department is a good picture to look forward to,” Tovey says. “I never would have thought to apply for the Fulbright on my own if it hadn’t been for the faculty first making me aware and helping me through every step of the process. Without them, none of this would have happened.”

Tovey will begin applying to doctoral programs while she’s in Austria. She eventually wants to teach at the university level and continue her German-infused dance research. Through her continued efforts supporting the field of foreign language study she wants to promote the broader ideal of raising cultural awareness – a tenet of her liberal arts education from the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences.

“We live in a really connected world, and the knowledge of another language can open so many doors for you,” she says.

According to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program website, Fulbright is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program awards approximately 1,800 grants annually in all fields of study and operates in more than 155 countries.

More A&S News | A&S Home | A&S Research | UC News | UC Home