Derek Frankhouser earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Missouri in December of 2011 and conducted research in Braunschweig, Germany, in 2013-2014, as the recipient of a Fulbright Study/Research Grant. The intent of the Fulbright program is to increase the intellectual collaboration and cultural understanding between the people in the United States and people of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. When asked about his experiences in Germany, Frankhouser stated, “Daily, I am grateful to have the gift of time to develop new friendships, discover to a new language and culture, and develop my own artwork professionally.”
Below is a brief interview conducted by the MU Fellowships Office with Derek Frankhouser in the spring of 2014.
Overall, how has your experience been with the Fulbright program?
The Fulbright program has been an excellent experience so far. It has not been difficult to find new friends and helpful mentors. I was also not expecting to befriend so many people from other countries in addition to German natives. I think the fact that much of Europe is linked by land, transportation, and the Euro allows for these significant cultural exchanges that are less prevalent in the States. My transition into a whole new culture and language had such a deep impact that I think I could no longer trace the differences from my home.
What was your research project?
My research involved looking at graphic histories in a local museum which allow visitors to study original works a hair’s breadth away. A highlight of working on this project was viewing a set of Albrecht Dürer’s wood engravings illustrating the Book of Revelation, fittingly on the eve of the disaster “predicted” by the Mayan calendar. It was like viewing a 500-year-old graphic novel.
Is there a particular event that stands out from your Fulbright experience?
I had the opportunity at the beginning of the grant to take a language course in Marburg, a smaller university town, with nearly a third of the other American grantees this year. This was a special opportunity to meet the other grantees and learn about their work, which varied dramatically, from studying malaria to manipulating ferrofluids to performing classical music. I learned about the cutting-edge research in many interesting fields and made some friends I won't forget.