Campus News Society & Culture

Another record year of Fulbright scholarships awarded to UGA students

Athens, Ga. – For the second consecutive year, a record number of University of Georgia students-eleven-have been awarded scholarships from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Nine of the students accepted the scholarships for the 2010-2011 academic year. Recipients of the U.S. Student Full Grants, which cover research and study opportunities, include spring graduates Jeremy Akin of Savannah, Virginia Newman of Decatur, and Abigail Zylla of Martinez, plus doctoral students April Conway of Conyers, and Jennifer Olson of Ames, Iowa.

Recipients of the English Teaching Assistantship Grants will serve as language-learning assistants in schools or universities abroad.Awardees included spring graduates Carlos Burse of Canton, Emily Gauld of Watkinsville, and Jessica Stewart of Alpharetta, plus fall 2009 graduate John Keith of Athens. In addition, spring graduate Lauren Fisher of Brooks, received a French Government Teaching Assistantship.

Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided approximately 300,000 people the opportunity to teach, study and conduct research abroad as well as make contributions to finding solutions for shared international concerns.Sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs within the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright Program is the largest international exchange program in the nation and operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.

“The record number of grants awarded again this year is further evidence of our students’ academic accomplishments and commitment to solving the world’s most pressing problems,” said Maria de Rocher, campus advisor for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and program coordinator in UGA’s Honors Program.”The increasing number of undergraduates receiving the award and the variety of disciplines represented also speaks volumes about the quality of faculty support campus-wide for our students.”

Akin, who earned a bachelor’s degree in international affairs with a minor in African studies, will be in central Uganda. His research focuses on compiling an index of conflict resolution best practices from local mediators that they can then use when addressing land dispute cases, especially illegal land seizure that is prevalent in the country.

Newman, who graduated with bachelor’s degrees in international affairs and Chinese language and literature, will study environmental policy in China for a year.Through studies at Nanchang University, she will investigate how provincial and local governments implement environmental policy, particularly reducing air pollution.

Zylla, who earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology with focuses on religion, women’s studies and geography, is investigating the ecological impact of Fiji’s community-based eco-tourism for a year. Her work will take her to the communities of Waitabu and Wayalailai.

Conway, who is pursuing a doctorate in forest resources, is studying the pygmy hippopotamus, an elusive endangered species found only in West Africa. Her research in Sierra Leone focuses on developing a conservation management plan to help protect the pygmy hippopotamus. Conway earned bachelors’ degrees in biology and Spanish from UGA.

Olson, who is pursuing a doctorate in higher education, is completing dissertation research on how three universities in Germany are making market-driven decisions when trying to attract top students from around the world. Olson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and international studies from Luther College and a master’s degree in comparative and international education from the University of Oslo.

Burse, who earned a bachelor’s degree in German with a minor in history, will be teaching in Germany. While at UGA, he served as vice president of the German Student Organization and tutored high school and college students in German. He also has been involved in events sponsored by the Georgia chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German, such as the group’s state convention.

Gauld, who graduated with bachelor’s degrees in music (melaphone and French horn) and German, will be spending a year in Germany.Gauld’s other study abroad experiences include studying for a year at the University of Zurich in Switzerland and participating in the UGA Redcoat Marching Band multi-city tour in China.

Stewart, who earned bachelor’s degrees in international affairs and economics with a minor in Chinese language and literature, will be teaching in Taiwan. While at UGA, she volunteered as an English-as-a-second-language tutor on campus and in the community.She also served as vice president of the Georgia China Alliance student organization and studied abroad in China.

Keith, who graduated with bachelor’s degrees in film studies and English, is teaching in South Korea.As an undergraduate, he interned with the publications department of the Georgia Museum of Art, contributing to the museum’s blog and newsletters. He also has professional experience in instructional technology in the private and education sectors.

Fisher, who earned bachelor’s degrees in international business and marketing with a minor in French, will be spending a year in France. She has already participated in two other study abroad programs in France as an undergraduate.Fisher also served as a mentor in the Thomas Lay Center after-school program in Athens and interned with the Fayette County Board of Education.

For more information on the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, see or contact Maria de Rocher at