By Dr. Rachel Kirby

The Justin Lee Cook Memorial Scholarship, in honor of Justin Lee Cook (’09), a German major who passed away two months after graduation, was fully endowed this year, enabling the Department to award the generous amount of $1200 for the first time to a student with a concentration in German.

The inaugural recipient of the scholarship is Lacey J. Gottschall, an outstanding German major entering her junior year. Lacey has a strong background in chemistry, biology, and microbiology, and plans to combine this with her German skills to work in the biomedical industry, perhaps beginning with an internship at one of the Max Planck Institutes located in Germany. She is particularly interested in researching epidemiology from a zoonotic approach, investigating the transfer of animal research to humans and vice versa.

Lacey Gottschall, German major at CSU
Lacey Gottschall, German major at CSU

The scholarship was named for Justin Lee Cook, a first-generation college student, who began his undergraduate studies at CSU as a Business Administration major in 2005.  In his first semester, he enrolled in a third-semester German language course, in order to build upon the German instruction he received in high school. After a study abroad trip to Hannover, Germany in 2006, Cook returned to CSU and switched his major to German.

Justin’s CSU peers in German at that time were a uniquely engaged group of students. They shared a pronounced enthusiasm for German language and culture, supporting one another in class and hanging out together outside of class. Justin became the centerpiece of that group dynamic: outgoing and likeable, fun-loving and positive, always fully “into” whatever topic was being covered in a given class.  Justin’s parents, with the help of his brother and many friends, endowed the Justin Lee Cook Memorial Scholarship to afford students of German the opportunity to pursue the passion that they share with Justin.