News

July 2, 2003

Jessica Coakley ’03 Wins Fulbright Fellowship to Study Economic Theory in Germany

She will serve as research assistant at Walter Eucken Institute and take courses at University of Freiburg.

Jessica Coakley ’03 (Merrimack, N.H.), who graduated cum laude last month with majors in International Affairs and economics & business, has received a Fulbright Fellowship to study economic theory in Freiburg, Germany.

Starting this fall, Coakley will research a line of thought called the Freiburg School of Law and Economics as a research assistant with Nils Goldschmidt at the Walter Eucken Institute. She also will take courses on German politics, literature, and history at the University of Freiburg. The following year, Coakley plans on pursuing a dual master’s degree in international affairs and public policy or a master’s in international affairs and an international law degree. Her career goal is to work with an international organization such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization, or World Bank.

“I’ve taken away so much from Lafayette,” says Coakley, a member of the Phi Beta Kappa, Delta Phi Alpha (German), and Omicron Delta Epsilon (economics) academic honor societies. “Educationally, Lafayette has been challenging and diverse. It’s a place where you are pushed to reach your academic and intellectual potential. I’ve realized the value of education and now have the knowledge to do something important.”

Last year, she spent her spring semester studying the politics and commerce of the European Union at the Institute for the International Education of Students in Freiburg. She also had the opportunity to visit Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Netherlands, and Spain.

Through a Lafayette course in Ecuador and Brazil during a January interim session between semesters, Coakley studied the history of colonization and independence movements in South America. She has a solid command of German, Spanish, French, and English.

“I have this overwhelming desire to see the world, to be involved with people and cultures,” says Coakley, “and I have a great interest in government and economics, all of which are part of the International Affairs program at Lafayette.

“Lafayette is a place where you have to work extremely hard in order to do well, but it’s a place where you will find comfort, security, and some sort of medium for you to grow as a person and figure yourself out and who you want to become. It’s a place you’ll come to call home and start missing when you leave, rather than missing home.”

One of her favorite courses was an international economics class taught by James DeVault, associate professor of economics and business. “You take away so much from the class because he makes you apply what you learn,” she says.

Taking a class about AIDS taught by Thomas Yuster, associate professor of mathematics, in Lafayette’s Values and Science/Technology Program was one of the best experiences of her life, says Coakley. “It was amazing – so eye-opening and relevant,” she says.

Rosie Bukics, Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Professor of Economics and Business, was impressed with the student’s performance and classroom contributions in her Financial Theory and Analysis course.

“Jessica is an enthusiastic student who wants to get the most out of her education,” she says. “She is warm, empathetic, works well with others, energizes those around her, and has a tremendous work ethic. She is always busy, not just with her course work, but through her commitment to help others through volunteer activities.”

“Jessica is very well liked by her peers and greatly respected by her professors,” adds Margarete Lamb-Faffelberger, associate professor and assistant head of foreign languages & literatures and recipient last month of the Delta Upsilon Distinguished Mentoring and Teaching Award. “Her pleasant personality, her cooperative spirit, and her mature critical judgment make her very effective in conveying her knowledge and expertise.”

Ed McDonald, professor of foreign languages and literatures, taught Coakley in an intermediate German seminar.

“Jessica proved herself to be conscientious in every respect and, therefore, was a real asset to the class,” he says. “She exhibited an eagerness to answer any of the many intellectual inquiries that either her student peers or I brought up in class for discussion.”

Coakley took voice lessons at Lafayette and sang with the female a cappella group Cadence, which competed this spring in the semifinals of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. Coakley arranged songs for Cadence and participated in the group’s appearance on the Lehigh Valley PBS weekly magazine show “Tempo,” the recording of its second CD, and fundraisers for causes such as the September 11th Fund.

Through Lafayette’s Alumni Externship program, Coakley spent time on the job with Whitney Boucher ’80, senior vice president at Janney Montgomery Scott in Boston, Mass. Her other activities included studying classical and jazz piano, serving on the Student Alumni Association, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, and performing in Guys and Dolls with the Marquis Players, a student group that produces an annual musical to benefit local hunger and homelessness causes. She took part in weekly luncheons on campus during which only German was spoken. Former vice president of programming for Delta Gamma sorority, Coakley also participated in its adopt-a-grandparent program, making weekly visits with a local nursing home resident. “I went once and loved it. You can’t leave without feeling amazing,” she says.

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