UND professor recognized for connecting state’s Indian heritage with local high school German exchange program


Kate Menzies

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

College of Arts & Sciences


Danke schön, or "thank you," is the gesture behind the University of North Dakota's Birgit Hans recently being honored with the "Friends of the German American Partnership Program (GAPP)" award from a local high school.

This award is presented by Grand Forks Central High School's GAPP and is a testament to Hans' work with the local German exchange program. Hans is a Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor in the field of American Indian Studies at UND.

Hans, a native of Germany, welcomes the foreign exchange students to the area and gives them a presentation about the American Indian culture of the state.

Lonny Brakel, an instructor at Grand Forks Central High School and leader of the GAPP program, said that this is the first year this award is being given out.

"She has been a very valuable asset to our program and deserves as much recognition as possible," said Brakel.

In the more than 20 years Brakel has been with the program, he said he could not think of anyone who has consistently volunteered their time to share their knowledge with incoming students like Hans has done.

Brakel surprised Hans by presenting her with a plaque in front of her class.

"I wanted her class to see what great work she was doing," Brakel said. "If anyone deserves this award, it's her."