Soldner Honored by Sister City

Laura Soldner (English) received a special award certificate from the mayor of Higashiomi, Japan, to recognize her decade of service as the academic adviser for the Sister City Scholars program.

Northern annually offers a fully paid, one-year scholarship for a student from Marquette's sister city to attend the university. The scholar is selected from several applicants through a competitive process in Higashiomi. Many of the Japanese students who have come to NMU have elected to remain on campus for additional years at their own expense.

As their adviser, Soldner helps them schedule courses and become acclimated to the campus environment. She also meets them weekly for lunch to check on their progress.


The certificate was presented Wednesday by Marquette resident Paulette Lindberg. She accepted it on Soldner’s behalf from Higashiomi's mayor during a recent trip there. Pictured are (from left): President Les Wong, Lindberg, student scholar Maiko Kosugi, Soldner, and student scholars Hiromi Nakamura, Rika Kojima and Yuka Sano.


The award Soldner received is granted only to individuals who have served 10 or more years with a program. Soldner made one trip to Japan in the 1980s as part of a Marquette delegation. She assumed the adviser responsibilities for the Sister City Scholars program when its founder, former psychology professor Pryse Duerfeldt, retired from NMU.


“I have appreciated the opportunity to continue what [Pryse] started so long ago,” Soldner said. “It’s a pleasure working with the scholars. They are great people and I’ve been very proud of all of them.”


Kosugi was a scholar in 2003 and ended up staying at Northern more than four years. She will graduate Saturday with a degree in international relations. Kosugi praised Soldner’s efforts.


“She helped me out a lot and is like our mom when we’re away from home,” she said. “I’ve had a wonderful experience here and I grew up a lot because of the scholars program. I really like Marquette with the lake and the woods. I would like to find a job that will allow me to stay in the United States.”


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Updated: December 14, 2007

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