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Anna Kiefer
UTSA graduate student Anna Kiefer
(Photo by Marcia Mattingly)

UTSA student selected for Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship

By Jane Burton
Director of Alumni Programs

(April 24, 2007)--UTSA graduate student Anna Kiefer has much to celebrate. She will receive her master's degree in piano pedagogy and performance in May, and she was selected by Rotary International for an Ambassadorial Scholarship to study at Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Stuttgart, Germany.

Since 1947, nearly 37,000 men and women from 100 nations have studied abroad under this program. Today, it is the world's largest privately funded international scholarships program. The purpose of the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships is to further international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries.

Kiefer is no stranger to study abroad. While working toward her undergraduate degree at Trinity University, she studied in Vienna, Austria, for one semester. She credits UTSA Associate Professor Elizabeth Gutierrez with steering her toward the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship program.

Kiefer went online to explore the scholarship and decided to apply. Her application was endorsed by the Mission Trails Rotary Club, one of 15 Rotary Clubs in San Antonio and one of more than 50 Rotary Clubs in District 5840. She was interviewed by the district selection committee and recommended to Rotary International.

When asked what she is looking forward to the most, Kiefer said, "I can't wait to be immersed into the German language and culture. There will be many festivals to attend in Stuttgart including the famous beer fest and the Christmas market."

One of the differences she pointed out about this scholarship is that it "lets you become more involved with the culture, as local Rotarians will invite us to their meetings and into their homes. We may also be involved in some Rotary projects while there."

Using the Internet, Kiefer searched the Rotary Web site to select the school where she wanted to study. Taking it one step further, she sent e-mails to the European Piano Teachers Association to obtain recommendations on her choices. Through this process she decided on Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst.

Kiefer attributes her selection to the fact that she is very adaptable and has more of a world vision for this experience. It is not just, "what's in it for me?" but rather... "how can I best represent my country and serve others?" Not too long ago, she organized a piano concert with her students to benefit wounded soldiers hospitalized in San Antonio. They raised $1,800, which surprised her. She said it was the least they could do for those who had given so much. It taught her students that they could use their talents, their personal gifts, to help others.

For more information, visit the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships Web site and search "Ambassadorial Scholarships." The UTSA campus contact is Jane Burton at (210) 458-5118. The district contact is Jerry Hardy at hardyj@swbell.net. The deadline to apply locally to be endorsed by a Rotary Club is May 1, 2007, for study in 2008-2009.

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