FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Five University of Arkansas students have been awarded prestigious J. William Fulbright Scholarships to complete their studies or teach abroad during the upcoming academic year. The Fulbright international exchange program offers students the opportunity to travel to a country of their choice, either to conduct advanced research in their fields of study or to teach English in elementary and secondary schools. Of the five University of Arkansas students awarded, two received research scholarships and three won English teaching assistantships. Two applied as undergraduates; three as graduate students. A sixth student received a Fulbright Scholarship, but accepted a different award instead.
The Fulbright winners are Anne Greeott of Seattle, Washington, M.F.A. in literary translation and creative writing; Courtney Hill of Jonesboro, B.S. in civil engineering; Karsten Powers of Cabot, B.A. in Spanish and international relations; Vena A’dae Romero of Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico, LL.M. in agricultural and food law; and Rachael Schaffner of Spring, Texas, M.A. in English.
“There is no dearer scholarship program to the University of Arkansas than the Fulbright,” said G. David Gearhart, chancellor of the University of Arkansas. “To have five students receive this prestigious award is a tribute to the quality of our students and to the great work being done in the colleges, in the graduate school, and in the study abroad office.
“Sen. Fulbright said that the purpose of this program is to foster ‘leadership, learning, and empathy between cultures,’ and I know these students will embrace these goals and will serve as excellent ambassadors for our institution, for Arkansas and the United States.”
The Fulbright program was established in 1946 through legislation sponsored by Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, to promote international education as a means of fostering cultural and political understanding across the globe. More than 155 countries participate in the program, and approximately 1,900 students from all fields of study are awarded grants each year. Since its creation, the Fulbright program has allowed more than 325,000 people worldwide to participate in international educational exchange. Students receive approximately $25,000 for the year.
Anne Greeott, a Walton Creative Writing Fellow, is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in literary translation and creative writing in the department of English in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. She has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to travel to Rome to complete her work on translations of the poet Mario Luzi, a Nobel prize nominee. In addition to her research, she will teach periodic workshops on poetry and literary translation to public high school students in Rome.
Courtney Hill, a Chancellor’s Scholar and Distinguished Governor’s Scholar, is an undergraduate Honors College student in the College of Engineering, majoring in civil engineering with sustainability minor. She was also a recipient of an Honors College Research Grant and an Honors College Study Abroad Grant. She received her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering this spring. She will spend the upcoming year teaching English in South Korea before pursuing a doctorate in civil engineering as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.
Karsten Powers, an Honors College Fellow and an Arkansas Governor’s Scholar, majored in Spanish and international relations in Fulbright College, minoring German. Powers also received an Honors College Research Grant. He graduated this spring and will teach English in Madrid, Spain, in the fall. After completing the Fulbright, he plans to pursue a Master of Arts in international relations.
Vena Romero has just completed the Master of Laws program in agricultural and food law at the School of Law. She will complete a research study on indigenous food sovereignty in New Zealand. Her study will compare similar colonial experiences between the Maori people of New Zealand and the American Indians in the United States and explore the influence of traditional food systems.
Rachael Schaffner is a master’s student in the department of English in Fulbright College. She will teach English at Ataturk University in Erzurum, Turkey. When she returns, she plans to pursue a doctorate in ecological criticism.
Adrian Beam majored in music and European studies in Fulbright College, graduating this spring. She was offered a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Austria but declined the offer to accept the Austrian Government Teaching Award.
“A Fulbright Scholarship can have a lasting effect on lucky recipients as well as the communities they live in during their year abroad,” said DeDe Long, the director of the University of Arkansas Study Abroad Program and the campus Fulbright Program adviser. “The program stretches students in many ways, opening a world of new educational and personal opportunities. I feel privileged to work with these exceptional students and watch them embrace these new experiences.”
These awards to University of Arkansas students come at a time when the Fulbright program is facing budget cuts of more than $30 million during the next year. Many educators around the world – including Chancellor Gearhart – have spoken in defense of the program, highlighting the long-term benefits of the Fulbright Scholarship for students and for society at large. More information about the proposed cuts is available online.
Students wanting to apply for the Fulbright Scholarship should contact the office of study abroad (722 W. Maple St., Fayetteville, AR) at 479-575-7582 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The campus deadline for the 2015-2016 year is Sept. 22.
DeDe Long, director
Office of Study Abroad
Steve Voorhies, manager, media relations
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