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Klemmack Scholarship Helps Mylii Pukema Find Her Way

Mylii Pukema and David Klemmack  
Mylii Pukema with scholarship donor, David Klemmack.
Mylii Pukema, who graduated this May from the College of Liberal Arts, double majoring in English and International Studies, with a minor in German, was the recipient of the first Virginia and Matt Klemmack Scholarship. With the help of this scholarship, Pukema graduated with a degree she truly enjoys.

Pukema took time to do military service before she discovered which degree she wanted to pursue. In the spring of 2011, Pukema participated in a study abroad trip to Potsdam, Germany. Her final project for an international class was on the immigrant population of the area, and she found herself increasingly interested in the intercultural atmosphere.

“Part of German Studies is dealing with the culture, and part of that is learning about contemporary Germany. Two things that surfaced for me were the multicultural society issues and the large immigrant population”, said Pukema.

This spark of interest motivated her to research the current status of the Turkish population of Germany as an undergraduate research project. Her work culminated in a presentation entitled "(K)ein Einwandersungsland: Redefining German-ness in the 21st Century," presented by UMD's Alworth Institute for International Studies, in early May.

This type of academic exploration is one of the reasons that David Klemmack provided the Klemmack scholarship to UMD. Named for his parents, the scholarship is meant to encourage students to use college as a time to explore what they are passionate about. Pukema was able to meet Klemmack in the fall semester of 2011. She learned that he also did some academic soul-searching before he graduated, but thanks to a few great professors was set on a path that eventually led to his own degree, and eventually a doctorate.

“UMD really gives students the opportunity to find their own avenues of interest, and there are a lot of really knowledgeable professors around to help, encourage, and give you direction,” said Pukema.

With her diploma in tow, Pukema looks forward to life after graduation. “I hope I can take my degree and combine it with my military experience to work in the kind of job where I am able to use my language skills, cultural experience, and everything I’ve been able to learn from UMD.”

For more information on scholarships, visit : UMD Scholarship Information.

Written by Jessica Coffin,, May 2012

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