Tim Paczynski Represents Minnesota as Fund for Education Abroad Scholarship WinnerSelected from a pool of over 1,500 applicants, the philosophy and math double major hopes to study in Hungary next year.
Posted on April 26th, 2017 by

Gustavus Adolphus College junior Tim Paczynski recently received the Minnesota Scholar award from the Fund for Education Abroad (FEA). Paczynski is the lone student from Minnesota chosen out of a pool of over 1,500 applications that were submitted to FEA.

The FEA scholarship is made possible by the generous support and fundraising efforts of international educators working in Minnesota. Almost 170 scholarships have been awarded by FEA since 2010, encouraging students to pursue their dreams of studying abroad.

Tim Paczynski ’18

Paczynski hopes to follow his dream by studying mathematics in Budapest, Hungary next year.

As a first-year student at Gustavus, Paczynski originally began taking philosophy classes, although he always found an interest in math. “While doing philosophy, I somehow came back to math. From there, I fell in love with it,” he says. Now a junior, he has paired his two loves by declaring a double major in the subjects.

Paczynski credits Gustavus faculty members for their influence on his decision to pursue the two distinct majors. “Professor Jacob Siehler basically convinced me that math is something I wanted to do with the rest of my life, without even trying,” he says. Philosophy professors Lisa Heldke and Josh Brown also encouraged Paczynski to challenge himself academically. “They really helped me refine who I am as a person,” he adds. Siehler even introduced him to the Budapest program by sharing his personal experiences in Hungary. From there, Paczynski began his research into Budapest, a city home to 1.7 million.

As Paczynski explored ways to study in Hungary, he learned about the FEA program through Bryan Messerly, the assistant director of study away programs within the Center for International and Cultural Education (CICE) on campus. “This is a big honor that recognizes not only Tim’s impressive academic record, but also his clear sense of purpose for his year abroad,” Messerly said. “Tim is an excellent example of how students can utilize a study abroad experience to enrich their education.”

One of the main reasons why Paczynski decided to apply for the study away program was the Hungarian culture and the challenge of the language, which is far different than anything he has studied before.

Through his research, he also discovered that mathematics programs in Hungary are different than those in the United States. There are a number of courses offered that piqued Paczynski’s interest, including abstract algebra, algebraic topology, and even a writing-intensive math class that teaches students how to structure their ideas into an understandable format. These will all prepare him for future plans, which include applying for graduate school to continue his career in mathematics.

At Gustavus, Paczynski has worked as a Collegiate Fellow residence hall adviser for the last two years. When he’s not working or spending time with friends, Paczynski can be found reading. His current literary mission: finishing all of Haruki Murakami’s novels.

And as he prepares for the next step, Paczynski knows that by pairing philosophy and math with the opportunity to study away, he’s taking advantage of all that a Gustavus liberal arts education has to offer.

“The opportunities here at Gustavus and the conversations with faculty have really helped me reach my goals,” he said.

To learn more about the Gustavus Center for International and Cultural Education, visit the department’s website.

The Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) was established as a nonprofit organization in 2010 to address the need for an independent study abroad scholarship provider. FEA expands access to study abroad by raising awareness of its benefits to the individual and value to the collective, and by granting scholarships of up to $10,000.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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