Mark Lockard is about to make good use of the voltage converters and luggage he's purchased while working as a part-time employee at Mori Luggage and Gifts.
Lockard was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the University of Muenster in Germany.
A 2002 political science graduate at Augusta State University, his interest is in renewable energy policy. While in Germany, he will study political science and how other countries conduct their renewable energy programs.
The Fulbright program supports student exchanges between the United States and 140 nations to strengthen understanding and communication.
"I'm a little overwhelmed and awestruck," he said. "It's an experience of a lifetime."
Lockard, who plans to live in a student dorm, will be studying in Germany from Sept. 16 through July 2003, but might leave as early as July 15 to take German language courses. Lockard said he has had some German classes, but is far from being fluent. It may be one of his toughest obstacles.
"It's going to be a challenge, but I figure once I'm over there for awhile, it will be sink or swim. I plan to do everything I can to keep my head above water and not fall behind," said Lockard, who graduated with a 3.86 in his major.
And he'll have a safety net. His aunt and uncle live about 45 minutes away.
"It's all about the learning experience; you can't really be shy about it," he said. "You're bound to make friends and contacts that last a lifetime."
While there, he will receive about $700 a month to help defray expenses.
Earning his masters and then his doctorate degree is next, Lockard said. When he graduates, he said he would like to work for the Environmental Protection Agency or a private energy or environmental institution.
Lockard said he is excited about the new adventure, but will carefully pack items that remind him of home. One of his treasures will be a picture of his father who died in 1990.
"He always taught me to value an education above all things," said Lockard, who is the first in his family to earn a college degree.
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