UGA ties its record for Fulbright travel scholarships

September 14, 2011

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Writer:
Joelle Walls
Contact:
Maria de Rocher

Maria de Rocher

Program Coordinator

Honors Program
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Athens, Ga. - Eleven University of Georgia students were named recipients of international travel-study grants from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for the 2011-2012 academic year. This ties last year's record number. Nine of the students accepted the scholarships.

The U.S. Student Full Grants, which cover research, study and creative opportunities, were given to five UGA graduate students: Heather Gallivan of Tucson, Ariz.; David Meek of Wilmington, Del.; Leasa Weimer of Boulder, Colo.; Catherine Marie Porterfield-Barry of Jonesville, Va.; and Brinkley Warren of Alpharetta. Porterfield-Barry and Warren earned their degrees in spring 2011.

The English Teaching Assistantship Grants, which provide recipients with placements in schools and universities to serve as language-learning assistants, were given to four students who earned undergraduate degrees at UGA. They were spring 2010 graduate Andrea Bessey of Stone Mountain; spring 2006 graduate Caroline Strelitz of Lawrenceville; and spring 2011 graduates Christopher Ward of Lawrenceville and Brian Watts of Douglasville.

For the last 65 years, the Fulbright Program has provided students, scholars and professionals an opportunity to complete advanced research, international graduate study, university teaching and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright Program is the largest U.S. international exchange program. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards approximately 1,700 grants annually to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students.

"Selection for this national honor is evidence of our students' enormous talent and dedication to making a real difference in the world," said Maria de Rocher, UGA's campus Fulbright U.S. Student Program adviser and honors program coordinator. "It has been thrilling to witness so many of our students produce compelling research projects, all seeking to make connections with the international community in innovative ways."

Gallivan, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in anthropology, will travel to Indonesia, her third trip to the country to conduct dissertation research on marine conservation practices in the Nusa Penida Marine Protected Area. Gallivan also received a Fulbright Critical Language Enhancement Award that covers intensive language study in the host country during her research trip. She earned a M.Ed. from Loyola University and a B.A. from the University of Arizona.

Meek, who also is pursuing an anthropology doctorate, will complete dissertation research in Brazil. He previously visited Brazil in preparation for his project on how agroecology, or agriculture based on ecological principles, may play a role in the Landless Workers' Movement, the largest social movement in Latin America. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bard College and a master's degree from Antioch University New England.

Weimer, who is a doctoral student in UGA's Institute of Higher Education, will be working on her dissertation research in Finland. She is studying the effects of Finnish higher education policy that recently shifted the public university system from a tuition-free to a fees-based model. Weimer earned a master's degree in European higher education through the European Union-sponsored Erasmus Mundus scholarship program. She also holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and communication from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Porterfield-Barry, who received a master of fine arts degree from UGA, will study for one year in Turkey, her second visit to the country. She will focus on traditional Turkish ceramics, known as çini, primarily in Kütahya, a çini production center since the 14th century. Also a recipient of a Fulbright Critical Language Enhancement Award, Porterfield-Barry will oversee a public art installation. She received a B.F.A. from East Tennessee State University.

Warren, who already holds a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism from UGA and earned a master's degree in mass media and advertising, will be studying in New Zealand. He will be working on an international interactive art installation project that uses information and communications technology to virtually connect people in the U.S., New Zealand and other countries.

Bessey, who graduated from UGA with a bachelor's degree in psychology and a bachelor's degree in honors interdisciplinary studies focused on cross-cultural health and aging, will be teaching English in Thailand. Her previous international travels include an independent study of the language and culture of Thailand in summer 2009 and a public health study abroad experience in Vietnam in May 2007. She plans to enter graduate studies in nursing and public health.

Strelitz, who earned bachelor's degrees in Spanish and foreign language education from UGA, has been an English teaching assistant at the Federal University of São Carlos in Sao Paulo state in Brazil since the spring. She has been to South America three times, having studied in Chile, Costa Rica and Brazil. After finishing her Fulbright trip in November, she would like to pursue a master's degree in education.

Ward, who received bachelor's degrees in linguistics and Chinese at UGA, will be serving as an English language instructor in Indonesia. Ward has been exposed to multiple languages, having lived in Malaysia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates as a child because of his father's job as an ESL teacher. He also studied abroad in China last year. Upon his return to the U.S., Ward plans to enter graduate studies in computational linguistics.

Watts, who graduated from UGA with a bachelor's degree in ecology, will be an English teacher at a high school in South Korea, his third time to the country. He visited after high school and most recently served as a volunteer on an organic farm through the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms program in 2009. Watts' future plans include graduate school with a focus on environmental policy.
For more information on the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, see http://us.fulbrightonline.org/home.html or contact Maria de Rocher at derocher@uga.edu.

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