Recent Augustana Alumna Selected as 2024-25 Fulbright U.S. Student to Conduct Research in Norway

By Keeley Meier '20 | June 13, 2024
Julia Radtke Civitas Grad Ceremony

Julia Radtke ‘24, who graduated from Augustana University in May, has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program Award from the U.S. Department of State and Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board to conduct research in Norway for the 2024-25 academic year.

Julia Radtke

Of the 50 students who applied, Radtke was one of just 13 to receive an open study/research award to study in Norway. The Northfield, Minnesota, native, who double majored in environmental studies and biology with an emphasis in ecology & environmental science, is the first Augustana student to receive a Fulbright award since 2001.

“I began the application process last spring based on an encouraging tip from Dr. Colin Irvine (former provost & executive vice president), who is a Fulbright Norway alum, and Dr. Ann Pederson (professor of religion),” Radtke said. “I chose Norway because I spent a year there as an exchange student after high school, so I already had a sense of the language and culture. Also, Norway is a leader in biodiversity conservation and marine science, so I was excited to learn about these topics in a place I already had a fond appreciation for.”

After learning of Radtke’s interest in the program, Dr. Michael Nitz, professor of communication studies and Augustana’s Fulbright program advisor, began connecting her with universities and natural science departments in Norway, as the Fulbright U.S. Student Program requires applicants to find a sponsoring advisor and affiliated institution in their country of interest. Radtke had no problem finding a sponsor and an impressive one at that.

“Based on my interest in marine science, ornithology and ecotoxicology, I established a relationship with Dr. Norith Eckbo, associate professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway and senior political advisor at the Norwegian Council for Biodiversity,” Radtke said. “We had nearly weekly video calls throughout the summer last year while I developed a grant proposal and personal statement for my application.”

After Eckbo launched a pilot study called Seabird MPA, she helped Radtke identify how her interests and skills would fit into the project — leading Radtke to solidify a research topic and join Seabird MPA.

Radtke, who leaves for Norway in early June, will investigate the common eider, a large sea duck, and how the species benefits from marine protected areas in southern Norway. She will analyze the common eiders’ health and diet quality, track their movement using GPS loggers and monitor the growth of chicks during breeding season.

Julia Radtke Research“I am especially excited about my project because it exists at the intersection of so many of my academic interests — field ecology, ornithology, marine biology, ecotoxicology and analytical chemistry,” said Radtke. “Through science communication and outreach, the results of this project will help inform future seabird conservation and spatial management efforts in Norway.”

Radtke will live in Bø, a rural community southwest of Oslo, and conduct field work in the Tvedestrand fjord. After her year in Norway, she plans to continue ecology research. The Fulbrighter “loves school” and hopes to pursue a master’s degree and Ph.D.

“In addition to the folks I’ve already mentioned, I want to give a special thanks to Dr. Amy Lewis (associate professor of biology) who inspired my love and appreciation for birds; Dr. Michael Nitz who advised me throughout the process; Dr. David O’Hara (professor of philosophy, classics and environmental studies), Dr. Ann Pederson and Anna Reich (associate professor of art and Fulbright alumna) for providing thoughtful feedback on my application; Dr. Danny Gerling (associate professor of English) and the Writing Center who taught me to write well; and, of course, my family, friends and partner for cheering me on throughout the process,” said Radtke.

Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 400,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and professionals of all backgrounds with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research abroad. Notable Fulbrighters include 62 Nobel Laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 80 MacArthur Fellows, 41 heads of state/government and thousands of leaders across the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

Fulbright is a program of the U.S. Department of State, with funding provided by the U.S. government. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations also provide direct and indirect support to the program, which has operated in more than 160 countries across the globe.

For more information on Augustana’s elite scholarship opportunities, visit

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