NIU’s Nora Lindvall, who last fall was named the university’s Student Lincoln Laureate – or top senior – can hang another tassel on her mortar board this spring.
Lindvall, who grew up in Geneva, has been awarded a prestigious 2012-2013 Fulbright U.S. Student Grant to the Netherlands, where she intends to pursue a master’s degree in conflict resolution and governance at the University of Amsterdam.
“I feel that I am living proof of the immense value that an NIU education can provide to students,” Lindvall said. “I am doing everything I can to show students how their time at NIU can lead to life-changing opportunities that are not exclusively reserved for students from Big 10 and Ivy League schools.”
The highly competitive Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers fellowships for U.S. graduating college seniors, graduate students and artists to study abroad for one academic year. Lindvall had impeccable credentials.
She will graduate with honors Saturday, May 12, with bachelor’s degrees in English and political science. Over the course of her undergraduate career, she earned 20 NIU awards and scholarships. She won two grants to conduct research overseas. She speaks five foreign languages. She served on no less than nine different university-related committees.
Last summer, she traveled to Brussels, Belgium, for a two-month internship with Czech politician Libor Roucek, vice president of the European Parliament, having been selected over numerous applicants.
“Nora was a non-traditional student who transferred from a community college, and she certainly made the most of her time at NIU,” said Deborah Pierce, NIU Fulbright adviser and associate provost for International Programs.
“NIU students have done well in the past competing for Fulbright grants,” Pierce added. “Knowing what an accomplished and highly engaged student Nora is, we knew she would have a very good chance at being successful with her Fulbright application. We’re thrilled for her, and we know we can expect great things from Nora in the future as well.”
Lindvall said she chose the Netherlands because the country highly values human rights and actively opposes all forms of discrimination.
“The Netherlands’ foreign policy commitment to transatlantic cooperation, European integration, international development and international law particularly appeals to my values,” she said.
“As an advocate for nonviolence, I am impressed with Dutch cities like the Hague, which is revered worldwide as an international city of peace and justice. It is home to such organizations as the International Criminal Court, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and many others whose missions are dedicated to ensuring stability around the globe.”
She chose to study at the University of Amsterdam because it is home to the Amsterdam Center for Conflict Studies, a world leader in the interdisciplinary study of conflict and conflict transformation.
Lindvall intends to complete a one-year master’s degree in conflict resolution and governance, researching the role of the European Union in assisting women in underdeveloped post-conflict societies who are recovering from human rights abuses.
The NIU senior also is considering additional graduate work in linguistics. Ultimately she hopes to help create policies that would aid in providing viable, long-term solutions to transnational and civil conflicts.
Lindvall, who recently served as keynote speaker during the induction ceremony for the Lambda Sigma Sophomore Honors Society, is on a mission to encourage her peers to make the most of all the university has to offer.
During her time at NIU, she took full advantage of academic enrichment provided by the University Honors Program, undergraduate research and funding opportunities from the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning and study abroad experiences through the Division of International Programs.
“I am overwhelmed by the number of students who have come to me, searching for advice on how to make the most of their time at NIU. It’s a real pleasure to help them in any way that I can,” she said.
“I am just like every other student who has come to DeKalb in pursuit of a quality education,” she added. “I feel that it is my duty to use my successes as a tool to inspire others to live out their dreams. NIU is the perfect vehicle for putting the process in motion.”