Events, People

Breaking records, building dreams: Scholarship holders meet and mingle at Hagen celebration

They live out their dreams, like to stay on top of things and can’t stop learning. Motivated and determined, enthusiastic, curious and interdisciplinary. From the go-getter to the team player. From the high achiever to the bridge builder. This is how the FernUniversität in Hagen’s Deutschlandstipendium scholarship holders described themselves at an annual two-day get-together held in and around Hagen.

By Carolin Annemüller

Rector Prof. Ada Pellert welcoming the scholarship holders at the ceremony which was held in the landmark Arcadeon building

For Rector Prof. Ada Pellert, the annual meeting on campus and the subsequent reception  was once again an absolute highlight of the year, and not without good reason. “This is where you come into contact with particularly interesting people,” she said, complimenting the crowd and inviting them to network. “What you bring to the table is impressive. It’s inspiring.”

The FernUniversität has participated in the Deutschlandstipendium programme since 2012, this year beating all records with more scholarships awarded than ever before.  Of the 41 students on the books, most accepted the two-day invitation to Hagen. “You have distinguished yourselves through your outstanding achievements and commitment to your studies and deserve to be recognised for your successes and future opportunities,” said Pellert during the welcoming speech.

A case in point

Maren Cordes is a mother of two girls, works full time and has had one of the treasured scholarships since 2018.  For many years, in both a professional and voluntary capacity, she has been campaigning for better educational opportunities in disadvantaged families. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Education, she is now reading towards a Master’s degree in Sociology. What no one suspected: she had ChatGPT write part of her speech about her experiences with the Deutschlandstipendium. She then demonstrated the limits of artificial intelligence when it comes to conveying the real emotions of a distance learner. “For me, the Deutschlandstipendium is above all a great honour” said Cordes. “It motivates me to actively work for society. I grow beyond myself and feel deeply connected to the FernUniversität.” On the side lines of the ceremony, she also revealed the less glamorous secret of her success: little sleep and fixed study times early in the morning before work and at the weekend. Plus, she always has some course materials with her – whether in the doctor’s waiting room or at the scholarship holders’ meeting in Hagen.

Since 2011, the Deutschlandstipendium award has been a boon for high-achieving students.  Half the funds in the pot come from the federal government, and the rest comes courtesy of the largesse of both private sector companies and individuals.

You too could be in with a chance to win such a scholarship in the next round.  Find out more by visiting the FernUniversität’s Deutschlandstipendium page.

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