By Hayley Cox
The Fulbright Scholar Program, proposed to the U.S. Congress in 1945 by Senator J. William Fulbright, is a U.S. government program in international educational exchange. Senator Fulbright proposed the program as a means of promoting “mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries of the world.”
Since its beginning, the Fulbright Program has provided almost 310,000 participants the opportunity to study, teach, research, and exchange ideas in finding solutions to shared international concerns. The program is administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State and is primarily funded by an annual appropriation made by the United States Congress.
Typical “Fulbrighters” must represent the diversity of their home countries, according to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs website eca.state.gov/Fulbright. There are no set criteria for a “Fulbrighter,” as they have included students from a large range of cities, universities, fields of study, and personal backgrounds. “All Fulbrighters share a strong academic background, leadership potential, a passion for increasing mutual understanding among nations and cultures, and the adaptability and flexibility to pursue their proposed Fulbright project successfully.”
Four Texas A&M University students have been recognized by the Fulbright Scholar Program for 2013:
Undergraduate applicant, Audrey (Caroline) Barrow, was named as an English Teaching Assistantship Fulbright winner and will be moving to Kazakhstan in August.
Graduate applicant, Alicia Krzton, was named as an Anthropology Research Fulbright winner and will be moving to China in August.
Graduate applicant, Amber Hall, and undergraduate applicant, Maria Lopez-Salazar, were named as English Teaching Assistantship Fulbright Alternates.
Fulbright winner Caroline Barrow graduated in May with degrees in International Studies and Russian. She will move to Kazakhstan in August and be placed in a school in Kostanay where she will teach English.
Barrow applied for the Fulbright Scholars Program in September of 2012. The application process has many stages including an on campus interview and application review by Texas A&M, the Fulbright Scholars board in the U.S., and a Fulbright board in the applicant’s specific country of interest. Barrow was notified in May that she had been selected!
Barrow said she wanted to go to a Russian-speaking country. She said, “I’ve been able to see a few countries in Eastern Europe. Kazakhstan interested me because it’s a very different part of the Former Soviet Union. It is quite a mix of cultures.” The Fulbright winner said she is very excited to represent Texas A&M abroad!
Fulbright winner Alicia Krzton is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology, completing her fifth year in graduate school at Texas A&M. She has done research on a species of Chinese golden snub-nosed monkeys called Rhinopithecus roxellana since 2010.
Krzton also applied for the Fulbright Scholars Program in fall of 2012. This year, 60 scholarships were available for China and Krzton was notified in May that she had been selected! Krzton will be moving to China in August to do a semester of intensive language study before she continues on to her main research project in 2014. Her language study is funded by the Critical Language Enhancement Award, an award available as an adjunct to the Fulbright Program.
Krzton is going to China because it is the only country in which the golden snub-nosed monkey is present. She has had a longstanding interest in the people and culture of China as well. Krzton said she was ecstatic upon her notification of selection as a Fulbright winner!
The Fulbright winner encouraged any undergraduates interested in research to pursue outside funding, especially national grants. Krzton said, “I had to hear ‘no’ quite often before I ever got a ‘yes’.” She said this was all part of a great learning process which helped her to grow as a professional.
The Department of Honors and Undergraduate Research congratulates Fulbright winners, Caroline Barrow and Alicia Krzton, and Fulbright alternates, Amber Hall and Maria Lopez-Salazar on their outstanding achievements!