Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
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Stefan Sirucek '06, filmmaker, wins Fulbright to teach in Germany

Wheaton grad will apply his knowledge of filmmaking and theater in the classroom.

Wheaton graduate Stefan Sirucek '06, a German major and filmmaker from Wellfleet, Mass., has won a Fulbright scholarship to teach English in Germany, where he will apply his knowledge of filmmaking and theater in the classroom.

Sirucek's passions for the German language and for film and theater have meshed well. "Making films and writing short plays in German has been a great help to me in improving my language skills," he wrote in his Fulbright application.

He hopes to have his students work together to make short videos or plays in English. "Along with teaching English in Germany, I also plan to be active in the film scene and, if possible, to involve the students in my projects," Sirucek said.

The son of German immigrants, Sirucek has always felt a connection to Germany. Although his mother read him German children's books when he was small, his parents spoke little German at home. Sirucek rediscovered the language at Wheaton when he enrolled in a German course to fulfill the language requirement.

Sirucek progressed so quickly that he was able to study abroad as a sophomore in Regensburg, Germany. After that he was ''hooked.'' Following his junior year, he completed a summer internship at the Munich Film Academy with the support of a Davis International Fellowship from Wheaton.

"That experience allowed me to dip my toe into a very different film culture and industry and to see how they approach cinema" there, said Sirucek. "I also sat in on a few theory classes, and it was interesting to critically dissect the structure of classic American films like Tootsie, which I'd always thought was just about a guy who dresses up like a woman."

At Wheaton, Sirucek wrote plays for student play festivals and made a number of video films, including a 10-minute experimental film called Zwischenmensch, which explored the plight of identity in the modern world. In April 2005 he presented the film at Wheaton's Academic Festival and at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. The following year he completed a two-month internship with documentary filmmaker Jed Riffee of Berkeley, California, funded by an Adams Fellowship.

A Balfour Scholar and a Presidential Scholar at Wheaton, Sirucek graduated summa cum laude. He was on the Dean's Top 10 list all four years and was elected to the Phi Kappa national honor society.

Sirucek was a founder of the Wheaton Filmmaking Club. He contributed poems to the Rushlight literary magazine, wrote for the Wire student newspaper, and published an alternative campus paper.

"One of the activities I most enjoyed at Wheaton was founding the Underwire, Wheaton's own underground newspaper, which I produced with Joe Bedetti in the fall of '05 and spring of '06 with submissions from various collaborators," he said. "We were refused funding and flourished as a gadfly paper, with critical articles on world affairs and smart cartoons. All told it was a booming, if short-lived, success."

As a tutor in Wheaton's German Department for two years, Sirucek developed his interest in teaching. After his Fulbright year, he hopes to pursue documentary filmmaking as well as graduate study of foreign languages, with the possible goal of teaching at the college level.

"Lately I've been working as a freelance journalist," Sirucek said, "and I hope to continue writing for publications while I'm in Germany."