Tag Archives: Fulbright

Five Undergraduates Selected as Fulbright Semi-Finalists

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program currently awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.

Texas A&M had 5 undergraduate students named semi-finalists and 3 graduates students named semi-finalists in the 2018-19 competition. Semi-finalists have been reviewed in the U.S. by the National Screening Committees and have been forwarded to the host country for final review. The final selection decisions will be made by the supervising agency in the host country and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Fulbright Semi-Finalist Alyssa Brady ’17

Alyssa Brady ’17 is a senior supply chain management major at Texas A&M University from Houston, Texas. During her time as an undergrad, Brady worked as a conversation partner at the English Language Institute of Texas A&M. She recently completed a six-month internship with Niagara Bottling in the Corporate Giving department where she created two international employee volunteer programs that the company will embark on in 2018. Brady hopes to combine her interests in both supply chain and global humanitarian efforts in the future and enter into a Masters of Supply Chain program with a focus on humanitarian logistics at MIT. In her free time, Brady loves to watch documentaries and plan her next trip.

Fulbright Semi-Finalist Rachel Keathley ’18

Rachel Keathley ’18 is a senior business honors and management major from Austin, Texas. She is applying to the Fulbright Binational Internship program in Mexico where she hopes to further her study of the Spanish language while working in the international business environment. During college, Keathley participated in three short study abroad trips to Central America, which fueled her passion for international business development. In college, she spent her time working as the events coordinator for the Business Honors department and in various positions in Student Government as well as campus ministry organizations. Keathley previously interned as the International Trade Administration in Washington, D.C. with the Public Policy Internship Program and hopes to use the knowledge gained from the Fulbright program to pursue a career in public policy.

Fulbright Semi-Finalist Hannah Holbrook ’17

Hannah Holbrook ‘17 is an international studies graduate with a concentration in international commerce, and particular interests in North Africa and French language. Holbrook grew up with a deep love for the world, fed by spending time in West Africa while growing up.  In her time at Texas A&M University Holbrook was afforded the opportunity to grow, educate, and act out that love. During the summer of 2017 She had the privilege of studying abroad and working at a women’s development center in Morocco. Holbrook currently works a professional writer and is passionate about teaching English, learning languages, and songwriting. Her long-term plans include teaching English in Morocco and working with Moroccan women to improve their condition in society.

Fulbright Semi-Finalist Masden Stribling ’18

Masden Stribling ’18 is a senior international studies major from Coppell, Texas, where she lives with her parents and three beloved cats. Her extracurricular activities include working at the Texas A&M University Writing Center, volunteering with the MSC L.T. Jordan Institute for International Awareness, dancing with the Aggie Swing Cats, and singing in the Texas A&M Century Singers choir. Stribling’s long-term plans include teaching abroad in France and Ireland.

Fulbright Semi-Finalist Stephanie Wilcox ’18

Stephanie Wilcox ‘18 is a senior electrical engineering major with minors in Mandarin Chinese and international engineering. She is also a member of the University Honors Program, the Engineering Honors program, and is an Undergraduate Research Scholar. During her time at A&M, Wilcox has participated in over seven semesters of research. During the summer of 2016, she conducted research on a temperature and nutrient platform for biofuel in Dr. Han’s Nano-Bio Systems Lab through the Undergraduate Summer Research Grant Program. The poster presentation for this research was recognized with a 1st place prize in Technology and engineering category at the Emerging Research’s National Conference in Spring of 2017. In addition to research, Wilcox is also TAMUmake Hackathon Coordinator for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and is an active volunteer with St. Mary’s Church’s service and social justice organization, Advocates for Christ Today (ACT).

Undergraduates who are interested in applying to the Fulbright Scholarship or any other nationally-competitive award are encouraged to review the opportunities at http://tx.ag/NatlFellows and contact Benjamin Simington for an appointment natlfellows@tamu.edu.


Two Outstanding Seniors Nominated for Gaither Fellowships

The James C. Gaither Junior Fellows Program is a post-baccalaureate fellowship with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace which provides outstanding recent graduates who are serious about careers in international affairs with an opportunity to learn about and help shape policy on important international topics.

Junior Fellows work as research assistants to senior scholars whose projects include nuclear policy, democracy and rule of law, energy and climate issues, Middle East studies, Asia politics and economics, South Asian politics, Southeast Asian politics, Japan studies, and Russian and Eurasian affairs.

The fellowship provides a one-year full time position at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, D.C. during which Junior Fellows may conduct research, contribute to op-eds, papers, reports, and books, participate in meetings with high-level officials, contribute to congressional testimony and organize briefings attended by scholars, activists, journalists and government officials.

Texas A&M is one of over 400 participating schools and institutions and may nominate up to two students each year. Only 10-12 Junior Fellows will be selected, making this a highly-competitive program. Mokhtar Awad ’12 was selected as a Junior Fellow with the Middle East program in 2012.

We are pleased to announce our 2018 nominees are Kanika Gakhar ‘18, who is applying to the Energy and Climate Program, and Lucia Winkeler ‘18 who is applying to the Russia/Eurasia Program.

Kanika Gakhar ’18, Gaither Junior Fellows Nominee

Kanika Gakhar makes an impact on campus as a University Scholar and University Innovation Fellow by spreading her love for learning and working on revolutionary projects. As an Undergraduate Research Assistant at the Advanced Vertical Flight Lab, she conducts research on a Robotic Hummingbird. She is also a team-lead for the Society of Automotive Engineers Aero Design Team, which is an organization that designs, builds, and flies a radio-controlled aircraft at an international competition every year. Last summer, she interned for Boeing and was able to submit a patent for one of her designs. She is also very passionate about policy and has participated in debates, discussions, and Model United Nations. She enjoys dancing and is currently a performer for two dance teams: Texas A&M Belly Dance Association and Philsa Modern Hip-Hop Dance Team. She is currently Vice-President of Sigma Gama Tau and has served as President of Lambda Sigma Sophomore Honors Society and Director of Focus Groups for the MSC Fall Leadership Conference. She is also an active member of Maroon and White Leadership Association.

Lucia Winkeler ’18, Gaither Junior Fellows Nominee

Lucia Winkeler is originally from Austin, Texas. She is a senior international studies and Russian language and culture double major. Within, international studies, her focus is politics and diplomacy. Lucia is currently a member of the research subcommittee for the MSC Student Conference on National Affairs (SCONA)—currently preparing its 63rd conference—and also a member of Texas A&M University’s Russian Club. During her sophomore year, she was a member of the international subcommittee for the MSC L.T. Jordan Institute for International Awareness. Russian language and culture have always been a part of her life because her mother’s side of the family is Russian, and she has many relatives still living in Russia. During the summer of 2016, Lucia was a Fulbright Hays GPA Scholar as part of the Moscow-Texas Connections Program, during which she studied Russian intensively at the Higher School of Economics for 10 weeks. She was also inducted into the National Slavic Honor Society, Dobro Slavo, at the end of the spring 2016 semester. Last spring semester, in 2017, she had the opportunity to intern at the U.S. Department of Commerce through A&M’s Public Policy Internship Program and increased her knowledge of U.S.-Russian relations in a business context. After graduation, she plans to earn her Master’s in International Relations with a focus on Eurasia, and then enter a federal career to work on improving the state of U.S.-Russian relations and affect U.S. interests in the Eurasian region overall.

Congratulations to our nominees! If you are interested in applying to the Carnegie Junior Fellows program or another nationally-competitive scholarship or fellowship, please visit http://tx.ag/NatlFellows.

Four Nominated for Rhodes, Marshall Scholarships

Four outstanding students at Texas A&M University have been nominated for the 2018 Marshall and Rhodes Scholarships, the two most prestigious and highly-coveted academic scholarships available to students in the United States.

The Marshall Scholarship is awarded to 40 students and is tenable for two years of graduate study at any university in the United Kingdom; the well-known Rhodes Scholarship is given to 32 students and is tenable for two to three years of graduate study at Oxford University.  Among the most competitive scholarship competitions in the world, only about 4% of the nationwide pool of over 1,000 university-nominated applicants receive either award.

LAUNCH: National Fellowships congratulates the four Texas A&M nominees to these prestigious competitions for their hard work and dedication to the process of intensive self-reflection required in these applications.

Rhodes Nominees

Andy Baxter ’16, Rhodes Nominee

Andy Baxter ‘16 is a management consultant for Credera in Dallas, Texas. He grew up on a cattle ranch in Franklin, Texas and graduated from Texas A&M with a dual degree in physics and mathematics and a minor in business. He was honored with the Brown Foundation-Earl Rudder Memorial Outstanding Student Award which is presented annually to the top two graduating students for their exemplification of the leadership of General Rudder and dedication to academics and Texas A&M University. While at A&M, Andy was broadly involved and an active leader. He served as Director for Freshmen Leaders in Christ (FliC), Treasurer for the Society of Physics Students, Muster Host, and Impact Counselor. He also worked in Washington, D.C. through the Public Policy Internship Program, studied abroad in Budapest, Hungary, and worked in the Accelerator Research Laboratory. Andy is applying for the Rhodes Scholarship to study for two degrees: M.Sc. in Global Governance and Diplomacy and an M.B.A. He hopes to work as a humanitarian strategy consultant to equip organizations in fighting issues such as water scarcity and modern-day slavery.

Caralie Brewer ’18, Rhodes Nominee

Caralie Brewer ‘18 is a senior bioenvironmental sciences and wildlife & fisheries science double major with a minor in environmental soil science. She grew up hiking and exploring the outdoors in the greenbelt of Austin, TX and have always been fascinated by the environment. Here at Texas A&M, she has been involved in Environmental Issues Committee and Alternative Spring Break, working in both towards environmentally-centered community service and community involvement. Caralie also served as an animal care technician for the Aggieland Humane society; in this capacity, she handled animal care, gave vaccines, and aided in adoption counseling.  Caralie was selected as the COALS Alpha Zeta Outstanding Sophomore Award recipient; this is the highest award given to non-seniors in the College of Agriculture. Last fall, she studied ecology in Quito and the Galapagos, Ecuador, where she fell in love with the high-altitude Andean ecosystem known as the páramo. Since then, Caralie has been working towards returning to Ecuador as an applicant to the Fulbright Program; she would hope to aid in conservation initiatives that will help preserve the páramo and maintain a habitat for the species that call it home. Caralie is applying for the Rhodes Scholarship to study for a Ph.D. In Zoology.

Cora Drozd ’18, Rhodes Nominee

Cora Drozd ‘18 is a philosophy major and dance minor. An advocate for pre-college philosophy instruction, Cora’s passion is promoting civil discourse by leading philosophy discussions in K-12 classrooms. Cora’s Undergraduate Research Scholar thesis is on the implications of pre-college philosophy for American democracy. Cora was selected as the Manuel Davenport Prize winner for service to the mission of the Department of Philosophy, served as a public ambassador for Philosophy for Children, was selected as Miss College Station 2017 and was as a finalist for Miss Texas. A student leader, she served as the president of the Association of Cornerstone Students, a liberal arts honors students program, and led RYLLIES, her women’s service organization, to accomplish over fifty community service events as a chair of service. Cora is a group fitness instructor at the Texas A&M Recreation Center where she teaches pilates and dance cardio. She previously interned in the U.S. Congress and studied abroad as an associate member at New College, Oxford. Cora hopes to pursue master’s degrees in Global Governance and Diplomacy and Political Theory at Oxford for a career in law or diplomacy.

Marshall Nominee

Matthew Murdoch ’16, Marshall Nominee

Matthew Murdoch ’16 graduated Summa Cum Laude from Texas A&M in December 2016 with a bachelor of science in political science. While at Texas A&M, Matthew enjoyed an active role in community service and leadership as a Sunday School teacher at his church, a volunteer at the Twin City Mission in Downtown Bryan, and  Special Events Subcommittee member and Ring Day Coordinator with MSC Hospitality. Along with his studies and research assistance, Matthew took part in the Texas A&M Summer European Academy, where his experience witnessing the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis spurred his interest international relations. Matthew was selected for the Public Policy Internship Program and interned at the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs, working closely with the National Security Division in Washington, D.C.  After graduation, Matthew worked as a legislative aid/policy analyst with Senator Bryan Hughes in Austin, Texas. He is currently serving as the Deputy Campaign Manager for the Thomas McNutt House District 8 campaign. Looking forward, Matthew is pursuing a career in foreign service. Matthew hopes to pursue an M.Phil. in International Relations at Oxford.

Although these awards are highly competitive, students from Texas A&M are competitive. In fact, since 2001, 18 Aggies have been selected as finalists for the Rhodes or Marshall Scholarships, and four Aggies have been selected as Rhodes or Marshall Scholars! Students interested in applying to nationally-competitive awards such as the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships are encouraged to review opportunities at http://tx.ag/NatlFellows and contact National Fellowships Program Assistant Benjamin Simington at natlfellows@tamu.edu.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Awards

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is one of the most prestigious awards to support graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Nearly 17,000 applications were submitted for the 2016 NSF Fellowship competition, resulting in 2,000 award offers. This spring, 14 current and former Texas A&M University students were selected as 2016 NSF Graduate Fellows, while 21 were named Honorable Mention. Several of these students participated in LAUNCH programs at Texas A&M, including 5 who completed an undergraduate research thesis as an Undergraduate Research Scholar, 4 who participated in the University Honors program, one Undergraduate Research Ambassador, and two authors for Explorations: the Texas A&M Undergraduate Journal.

Alexandria Payne ’16, Bioenvironmental Sciences and Wildlife & Fisheries
Alexandria Payne ’16, Bioenvironmental Sciences and Wildlife & Fisheries

2016 NSF Graduate Fellow Alexandria Payne recently graduated from Texas A&M, where she double-majored in bioenvironmental sciences and wildlife & fisheries sciences. Alex began her research experience in the labs of Dr. Karen-Beth Scholthof and Dr. Herman Scholthof in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology. Alex will continue at A&M for a PhD in entomology, studying with Dr. Juliana Rangel in the Honey Bee Lab, where Alex will investigate the interactions of honey bees and the invasive Tawny crazy ant. Alex, a University Scholar and Undergraduate Research Scholar, was previously nominated for the Udall Scholarship recognizing commitment to environmental issues. She graduated cum laude with the Honors Fellows and Honors in Bioenvironmental Sciences distinctions. Alex has an upcoming publication, “Do More Promiscuous Honey Bee Queens Produce Healthier Hives?” in Explorations: the Texas A&M Undergraduate Journal, Volume 8, to be published in fall 2016.

In addition to the GRFP, Alex’s graduate study will be supported by Texas A&M’s Diversity Fellowship. She also received the Senior Merit award from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Reflecting on the benefits of the GRFP, Alex says, “This fellowship has given me the gift of being able to choose research topics I find interesting and wish to delve into. I wish to advise everyone to apply for or reach for the seemingly impossible as you may surprise yourself with the results.”

Ana Chang-Gonzalez ‘16, Biomedical Engineering
Ana Chang-Gonzalez ‘16, Biomedical Engineering

Ana Chang-Gonzalez, another 2016 NSF Graduate Fellow, recently graduated from Texas A&M with a bachelor’s in biomedical engineering and the Engineering Honors distinction. As an undergraduate, she volunteered in the Molecular Biomechanics Lab and conducted protein simulation in an AggiE-Challenge. She also began working with the University of Pittsburgh’s Human Engineering Research Laboratories to develop software for biological purposes. With NSF support, Ana will continue that project in her graduate studies, expanding a software that builds computational models of biological images and analyzes them for quantitative information. Ana is a former resident of the Honors Housing Community and a member of Alpha Eta Mu Beta, the Biomedical Engineering Honor Society, and Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society. She has an upcoming publication, “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Numbers,” in Explorations: the Texas A&M Undergraduate Journal, Volume 8, to be published in fall 2016.

A three-time recipient of the Dean’s Honor Roll, Ana says that, through her NSF application, she “learned how to neatly craft all [her] experiences into a concise form, how to formulate a research proposal, and the value of having faculty mentors that truly care about [her] success.” This fellowship will allow her “to focus more on conducting high-impact research and making a true difference in the field.”

LAUNCH would like to congratulate the Aggie 2016 National Science Foundation Graduate Fellows and Honorable Mentions and acknowledge their valuable contributions to our programs!

National Science Foundation 2016 Graduate Research Fellowship Awardees:

  • Shelby Bieritz, biomedical engineering. 2014 Fulbright Scholar.
  • Timothy Brown, physics of materials research.
  • Stacy Cereceres, biomedical engineering.
  • Ana Chang Gonzalez, bioengineering. Engineering Honors, Explorations
  • Chace Holzheuser, evolutionary biology.
  • Ethan Kamphaus, materials engineering. Engineering Honors.
  • Shannon Murray, materials engineering.
  • David Parobek, macromolecular, supramolecular, & nanochemistry.
  • Alexandria Payne, entomology. University Honors Program, Honors in Bioenvironmental Sciences, Undergraduate Research Scholar, University Scholar, Udall Scholarship nominee, Explorations
  • John Peters, neurosciences. University Honors Program, Undergraduate Research Scholar.
  • Karis Tang-Quan, bioengineering.
  • Taneidra Walker, biomedical engineering.
  • Jessica Wang, paleoclimate geosciences. Undergraduate Research Scholar.
  • Sarah Ward, macromolecular, supramolecular, & nanochemistry.

Honorable Mention:

  • Kristine Arvola, tissue engineering.
  • Alyssa Bennett, ocean engineering. University Honors Program, Honors Housing Community Sophomore & Junior Advisor.
  • Megan Brooks, materials engineering.
  • Erin Buchholtz, ecology.
  • Prachi Dhavalikar, biomedical engineering.
  • Garrett Edwards, biochemistry.
  • Grace Fletcher, biomedical engineering.
  • Thomas Fowler, aeronautical & aerospace engineering.
  • Julie Hammett, systems engineering.
  • Joshua Herrington, aeronautical & aerospace engineering.
  • Chris Holland, organismal biology.
  • Rania Labib, mechanical engineering.
  • Pierre Lau, environmental biology.
  • James Moore, chemical synthesis. Undergraduate Research Scholar.
  • Anish Patel, chemical engineering.
  • Zachary Popkin-Hall, evolutionary biology.
  • Ryan Priest, environmental engineering.
  • Mayra Ramirez, developmental psychology.
  • Elise Voltura, environmental biology.
  • Elizabeth Walsh, physiology.
  • Randy White, particle physics. Undergraduate Research Scholar, Undergraduate Research Ambassador.

Written by Adelia Humme ’15, Program Coordinator for National Fellowships, LAUNCH

Edited by Annabelle Aymond ’14, Administrative Assistant for Undergraduate Research, LAUNCH

Seventeen Aggies Chosen as National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellows for 2015

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is one of the most prestigious awards to support graduate students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Over 16,000 applications were submitted for the 2015 NSF Fellowship competition, resulting in 2,000 award offers. This spring, 17 former Texas A&M University students were selected as 2015 NSF Graduate Fellows, while 9 were named Honorable Mention. Most of these students participated in Honors and Undergraduate Research programs while undergraduates, including 13 who completed an undergraduate research thesis as an Undergraduate Research Scholar, 8 who graduated with Honors distinctions, 2 Undergraduate Research Ambassadors, and 3 Authors for Explorations, the undergraduate journal.

2015 NSF Graduate Fellow Dillon Amaya is a first year PhD student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego. While a Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences major and Oceanography minor at Texas A&M Amaya studied paleoclimate, physical oceanography, and climate change with faculty in the Department of Oceanography as well as the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Amaya, a Summa Cum Laude graduate, was the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Astronaut Foundation Scholarship. A member of the inaugural cohort of Undergraduate Research Ambassadors, he holds a strong interest in communicating science to the public.

In response to his selection Amaya said “I am honored to have been chosen for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. This kind of Fellowship gives me the funding and the freedom to do the exciting and innovative research that interests me the most. None of it would be possible, however, without having participated in substantial undergraduate research at Texas A&M. The experience I gained as an undergraduate made my NSF reviewers sit up and take notice. Every single NSF review I received cited my undergraduate research experience at A&M as the primary reason for my nomination for the award. For this reason, I am forever grateful for the opportunities afforded to me during my undergraduate career.”

Dillon Amaya, Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences ‘14, shows oceanographic instruments to 5th graders on a tour of the research pier at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.
Dillon Amaya, Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences ‘14, shows oceanographic instruments to 5th graders on a tour of the research pier at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.

Alejandro Azocar, another 2015 NSF Graduate Fellow, graduated Summa Cum Laude with University and Aerospace Engineering Honors. During his time at Texas A&M Azocar completed five cooperative education tours at NASA Johnson Space Center, working in three different research labs. As an Undergraduate Research Scholar, he won two best paper awards from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Region IV Conference for his work in unmanned aircraft simulation (2013) and electromyographically-controlled quadrotors (2015).

Azocar also was the recipient of the 2015 Ammon S. Andes National Award from Sigma Gamma Tau, the national aerospace engineering honor society. This award recognized him as the top aerospace engineering student in the United States based upon his academic, service, and extracurricular accomplishments. Azocar credits his mentors and peers at Texas A&M for his success, saying, “Texas A&M surrounded me with incredible people and opportunities, and allowed me to grow as a researcher, leader, and communicator.” This fall Azocar will begin his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University. He will be working at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago with a research focus on either bionics or brain-machine interfaces. With NSF support he hopes to develop prosthetic arms, legs, and exoskeletons that can be controlled through the user’s neural signals.

In his spare time Alejandro Azocar, Aerospace Engineering ’15, served as a Texas A&M Foundation Maroon Coat.
In his spare time Alejandro Azocar, Aerospace Engineering ’15, served as a Texas A&M Foundation Maroon Coat.

Honors and Undergraduate Research would like to congratulate the Aggie 2015 National Science Foundation Fellows and Honorable Mentions and acknowledge their valuable contributions to HUR programs!

National Science Foundation 2015 Research Fellowship Awardees:

  • Dillon Amaya, Geosciences, Climate and Large-Scale Atmospheric Dynamics. Undergraduate Research Ambassador and Astronaut Foundation Scholarship recipient
  • Alejandro Azocar, Biomedical Engineering. Undergraduate Research Scholar, University Scholar, and University Honors
  • Ryan Brito, Nuclear Engineering. Undergraduate Research Scholar, Foundation Honors, University Honors
  • Christopher Chini, Civil Engineering. Foundation Honors
  • Andrea Delgado, Particle Physics. Undergraduate Research Scholar
  • Keith Krenek, Electrical Engineering. University Research Scholar, University Honors
  • Timothy Kroeger, Mechanical Engineering. University Research Scholar, University Honors
  • Anna Means, Materials Engineering
  • Andrew Moehlman, Developmental Biology
  • Lakshmi Nathan, Chemical Engineering. Undergraduate Research Scholar, University Honors
  • Christopher Pannier, Mechanical Engineering. Undergraduate Research Scholar
  • William Scholten, Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering
  • Jeremy Seidel, Chemical Engineering. Undergraduate Research Ambassador
  • Zachary Steelman, Biomedical Engineering. Undergraduate Research Scholar, Honors Fellows, Explorations author
  • Jeffrey Swofford, Social Sciences, Sustainability
  • Jason Szafron, Biomedical Engineering. Undergraduate Research Scholar, Explorations author and Editorial Board
  • William Whitten, Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering. Explorations author

Honorable Mention:

  • Christopher Akers, Theoretical Physics. Undergraduate Research Scholar
  • Shelby Bieritz, Biomedical Engineering. Fulbright Award Grantee, Whitaker Fellowship recipient
  • Charles Giattino, Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Dion Hubble, Materials Engineering
  • Kelli Humbird, Biomedical Engineering. Undergraduate Research Scholar
  • Kristin Nichols, Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering. Undergraduate Research Scholar, Foundation Honors, University Honors
  • Jesse Pyle, Microbial Biology
  • Nicholas Rinkenberger,   Microbial Biology. Undergraduate Research Scholar
  • Michael Whitely, Biomedical Engineering

Matthew Petty ’15 Selected for Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship

The Fulbright Scholarship program is founded on the philosophy of late Senator J. William Fulbright: that international educational exchange is the most significant and important path to create “leadership, learning and empathy between cultures”, and thereby the hope of global peace. The US student Fulbright program funds approximately 1900 grants each year enabling students to travel, study, research and teach in over 155 countries. Among the core Fulbright Programs is the English Teaching Assistantship, where US students help English teachers in foreign countries while acting as cultural ambassadors for the US. English Teaching Fulbright applications are targeted towards the specific country of the applicant’s choice and cover the Fulbright Scholar’s living expenses in the host country as well as round trip transportation.

Male student with short hair wearing a blue-striped polo stands rasting his hand on a low brick wall.
2015 Fulbright Scholar Matthew Petty ’15

This year, Texas A&M student Matthew Petty, ’15, International Studies and Russian double major has been awarded a coveted Fulbright ETA Scholarship to teach English in the Central Asian country of Tajikistan. Matthew’s scholarly interests originally were focused on Russia, specifically the Russian culture and language. Even before matriculating at Texas A&M, Matthew had been awarded two National Security Language Initiative for Youth Scholarships, which allowed him to work as an English as a Second Language (ESL) volunteer at the American Center and in a local school in Kazan, Russia. He then returned to Russia, this time to Tomsk on a Benjamin Gilman Study Abroad Scholarship where he split his time once more between an American Center and a Siberian Lyceum, similar to an American high school. It was while in Tomsk that Matthew found his interests beginning to shift from Russia to the countries of Eurasia, or Central Europe. It was also during his stints in Russia that Matthew met Fulbright scholars and the head language officer at the US Embassy in Moscow. These interactions allowed Matthew to realize that his interest in teaching and soviet culture could lead to a career in linguistics, English language instruction and curriculum development.

In many ways Matthew has already become an ambassador and connection between US and Central Asian culture. Here in Texas, his friendship with an Uzbek student led Matthew to the realization that rural Texas farming culture has much in common with the cultures of Central Asia. While in Russia, he discovered he greatly enjoyed Tajik food and the hospitality of its citizens. Matthew firmly believes that an in-depth understanding of a language cannot be accomplished without a thorough understanding of the culture and history that has shaped it. While teaching English in Russia, Matthew would entwine American cultural touchstones such as holiday food, country music, radio broadcasts and sports with language lessons. To further develop an understanding of American English and American culture during his time as a Fulbright Scholar in Tajikistan, Matthew plans to incorporate movies, cultural discussions and creative writing into his teaching plans.

After his Fulbright Scholarship and graduation, Matthew intends to pursue a master’s degree in curriculum development with an emphasis on ESL education. This training in addition to his increasing experience in Russian language and Central Asian culture will set Matthew’s feet on the road to a professional career promoting international goodwill and understanding through the sharing of education and culture. Senator Fulbright would be proud.

Current students interested in applying for the 2016 Fulbright Program should contact Jamaica Pouncy, Program Coordinator, National Fellowships and Honors Academic Advisor, jamaica.pouncy@tamu.edu.

The Future is Looking Ful-Bright!

By Hayley Cox

fulbrightThe 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.

Caroline Barrow - Fulbright Scholar - Kazakhkstan
Caroline Barrow – Fulbright Scholar – Kazakhkstan
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!

Alicia Krzton - Fulbright Scholar - China
Alicia Krzton – Fulbright Scholar – China
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!