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In 2005, Katie Bostdorff was making one of the biggest decisions of her life—which college she should attend. The 2009 Ball State graduate was nervous about leaving the small town of Bucyrus, Ohio, to go to a place where she knew no one. Yet her experience at Ball State has prepared her to travel halfway around the world after graduation, thanks to the Fulbright Program.

After visiting the campus and meeting with several faculty members, Bostdorff knew Ball State with its nationally recognized telecommunications (TCOM) program was the right choice. An honors student through high school, she says she was attracted to the Honors College because she liked the personal attention she would receive and the hands-on experience Ball State is known for.

“I knew the TCOM program was very good, but a lot of people in the Honors College made me feel like they really knew me,” Bostdorff says.

It wasn’t long before the TCOM news option major and history minor began making a name for herself. Active in both student radio and television, she was the executive producer, head writer, and anchor for Reel Deal, a weekly entertainment news and review program. She was also active with Indiana Public Radio and WCRD Radio, which was founded with support from alumnus David Letterman.

“Since I’ve been here, every experience I had convinced me I made the right decision coming here,” she says. “I work at an NPR affiliated station. I already had a reel of actual work I’ve done. I was able to sit down with professors and decide what’s the best and what’s going to sell me.”

Her hard work in extracurricular activities won her several awards, including the Steve Bell News Packaging Award, the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, and a regional Emmy Award for her special broadcast produced and aired during the ribbon-cutting for the David Letterman Communication and Media Building. She was also a Whitinger Scholar and TCOM Junior of the Year.

Bostdorff was encouraged by one of her professors to apply for the Fulbright, through which she will teach English to high school students for nine months. In addition, she will serve as a cultural ambassador to her assigned school and community. She says she hopes to use film as a medium for introducing the students to U.S. culture.

She credits her professors and their unique style of teaching for her selection to Fulbright.

“I don’t think you can get that hands-on experience anywhere else,” she says.

Suzy Smith, a telecommunications faculty member, says Bostdorff is a woman who “gets it” because she has a solid understanding of her future career in news reporting.

“She’s a very capable person and very good at what she was doing,” Smith says.

Because of Bostdorff’s passion for news, Smith took Bostdorff with her to the CNN studios in Atlanta where Smith was formerly a senior producer with cnn.com. Smith invited her for the opportunity to see how news was done in a larger market.

Bostdorff said experiences like that trip and the relationships she has with her former professors make Ball State a great school.

“It’s unreal—the professors and what they know and how much time they are willing to spend on the students,” she says.