Editor's Note: Since this story was published, Aaron Bayles '17 also received an academic Fulbright scholarship to study chemistry in Spain, bringing the total number of awardees up to 13.
Twelve W&M students will jet off to international locations from Mexico to Taiwan for the 2017-18 academic year as recipients of prestigious Fulbright scholarships.
Jessica Armstrong ’17, Melissa Guidry ’17, Hayley Hahn ’17, Michael Kopreski ’17 and Ph.D. student Mallory Moran each received academic awards to conduct individually designed research projects while abroad, and Kyra Bell ’17, Ellie Dassler ‘17, Ebimene Doubeni ‘17, Sophia Farion ‘17, Katie Freund ‘17, Victoria Johnson ‘17 and Meredith Wolf ’17 received grants to participate in the English Teaching Assistant program.
Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright U.S. Student scholarship is the largest U.S. exchange program offering recent college graduates and young professionals the opportunity to pursue international graduate study. The program awards 1,900 grants annually and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide. Students have the option of applying for an academic grant or a grant to work as an ETA.
W&M students have consistently performed well in the program, with nine students awarded grants last year and an all-time W&M record of 15 students offered scholarships for the 2013-14 academic year.
This year’s recipients will be spread out in 10 different countries, from Ukraine and Switzerland to Canada. During her year abroad, Armstrong, a chemistry major, will be returning to the University of Cologne in Germany for a second time (she studied there prior to her senior year) to “investigate catalysts for use in a system that can simultaneously produce hydrogen gas as a fuel and decontaminate wastewater containing formaldehyde impurities.”
“My experience with Fulbright will be an important steppingstone to my career goal of a professorship at a research university,” said Armstrong. “This experience will grant me a degree of independence that will help me to further clarify my own motivations and specific scientific interests in preparation for a career as a professor.”
Freund, a double major in economics and Hispanic studies, will be working as a teaching assistant in English classrooms in Mexico during her Fulbright year. While in Mexico, she hopes to also tutor in the local community, organize neighborhood dinners that promote exchanges about local culture and cuisine, and explore options for her own long-term career goals.
“I know that I love Spanish, Latin America, education and economic development, but I am still looking for ways to combine all of those passions into a career,” said Freund. “I think that my time in Mexico will definitely make me more comfortable with Spanish and with living and working within communities that are different from my own. I hope that it will also give me ideas for how to start getting involved in other organizations … where I can use my skills to make a difference.”
Fulbright grants include round-trip airfare to the host country and funding to cover room, board and other incidentals. Seniors, graduate and professional students, and recent alumni who are interested in applying for a Fulbright Scholarship for the 2018-19 academic year should contact campus Fulbright Program Advisor Lisa Grimes in the Charles Center. The campus deadline to apply is Sept. 6, 2017.