When Travis Trojan ’15 played The Game of Life as a child, he bypassed college and went straight to a career. He was planning to follow that same path in “real life” after graduating from high school, but his parents had other plans.

Now he’s glad they did. Trojan, a first-generation college student from Spartanburg, S.C., was just awarded a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to Taiwan. According to Trojan, it’s one step closer to his goal of becoming a college professor.

“It’s crazy. I knew very little about college growing up, now I’d love nothing better than to spend the rest of my life on a college campus teaching students and sharing my passion for languages,” says Trojan. “I’m really glad now that my parents insisted that I go. I’ve met people from all over the country and the globe. The students, faculty and staff at Wofford have made this the best four years of my life.”

Trojan begins his English teaching assignment in Taiwan in September following a month of orientation and training. He’s excited about living abroad for 11 months and giving his students opportunities to make language personal.

“I’ve learned from two semesters abroad in Beijing (China) and a semester in Freiburg (Germany), as well as from my experiences with international students at Wofford, that people in other countries really focus on the technical aspects of language,” he says. “I want to introduce my students to language as a way to tell their stories.”

Trojan majored in both Chinese and German with a concentration in gender studies. He has been accepted into Carnegie Mellon University’s prestigious Second Language Acquisition M.A. program, but is deferring that offer while he completes his Fulbright assignment. He believes after the Fulbright, he’ll be a good candidate for Carnegie Mellon’s Ph.D. program.

Trojan says Wofford provided lots of support and help with his Fulbright application. He specifically credits Dr. Kirsten Krick-Aigner, professor and chair of the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures who leads the Fulbright application program at Wofford; Dr. Beate Brunow, assistant professor of German; Dr. Li Qing Kinnison, associate professor of Chinese Studies; and Dr. Yongfang Zhang, assistant professor of Chinese.

Trojan was the Palmetto Chinese Star winner for South Carolina, dominating both language proficiency and cultural proficiency in the advanced level, winning first place in both. He represented the state at the regional Chinese Bridge competition in Washington, D.C., in April. Trojan’s painting received the highest score in cultural performance, and he won fourth place overall in the competition that included proficiency in speech, cultural performance and knowledge. 

“Travis absolutely embodies the Fulbright mission of aspiring to world peace through intercultural engagement,” says Krick-Aigner. “I am so proud of what he has accomplished at Wofford and abroad and look forward to hearing about his future successes!”

by Jo Ann Mitchell Brasington ’89