Campus News

Twelve UGA students awarded Fulbright grants

Athens, Ga. – Twelve University of Georgia students were awarded international travel-study grants from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for the 2014-2015 academic year. This is UGA’s second highest total of Fulbright recipients.

Eight of the students accepted the scholarships. Recipients of the U.S. Student Full Grants, which cover research, study and creative opportunities, include three students who recently earned undergraduate degrees at UGA: 2013 graduate Christian Conroy of Roswell; 2011 graduate Winn Davis of Savannah; and 2009 graduate Brett Heimlich of Alpharetta.

Two students who recently earned master’s degrees at UGA also received Full Grants: Sara Hobe of Fresno, California; and Lauren Satterfield of Atlanta.

English Teaching Assistantship Grants, which place recipients in K-12 schools and universities to serve as language-learning assistants, were given to three students who recently earned undergraduate degrees at UGA: Tiffany Brown of Warner Robbins, DeAnne Cantrell of Douglasville, and Christine Pardue of Cleveland.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards approximately 1,900 grants annually to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students. For the past 68 years, the Fulbright Program has provided students, scholars and professionals an opportunity to pursue advanced research projects, graduate study and teaching assistantships in more than 140 countries worldwide. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright Program is the largest U.S. international exchange program.

“It has been a joy to work with all of these recipients, who represent a diversity of backgrounds and fields of study, and include undergraduates, both within and outside the Honors Program, as well as graduate students,” said Maria de Rocher, campus Fulbright U.S. Student Program adviser and assistant director of the Honors Program. “In addition to their stellar academic achievements, they all have been selected for their ability to serve as cultural ambassadors, and as such are poised to make lasting and meaningful connections within their host countries.”

The following UGA graduates received 2014-2015 awards:

Tiffany Brown, who completed a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, will spend the bulk of her time at the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín, Colombia, teaching English, leading conversation clubs, giving private tutorials and hosting a program at the university’s English radio station. When she’s not working at the university, Brown will volunteer for a local educational organization with plans to offer English classes for students who might otherwise not be able to attend.

“I am most looking forward to intercultural exchange,” said Brown, who as an undergraduate spent significant time in Argentina through UGA study abroad programs. “My favorite part about travel and living abroad isn’t sightseeing, but engaging with the individuals in the community and learning about their customs, habits and perspectives. As I learn more about and participate in Colombia’s culture, I hope that all of those that I encounter learn more about the United States in an authentic and meaningful way.”

DeAnne Cantrell, who earned a bachelor’s degree in German, will return to Germany, where she studied for 11 months as an undergraduate on an academic exchange in Bavaria. For her Fulbright year, Cantrell will be placed in a school in Niedersachsen, where Saxon dialects are utilized.

“In a best-case, perfect-world scenario, I’ll be placed in a small, backwoods town somewhere, or maybe a fishing town to the far north-somewhere where the dialect will be thick, difficult to understand, and, to a linguist, utterly entrancing.” Upon her return to the U.S., Cantrell plans to pursue a master’s degree in German linguistics and teach dialectology at an American university.

Christian Conroy, who recently graduated with bachelor’s degrees in international affairs and political science, will take leave from his current position at Global Skills X-Change in Washington, D.C., an applied behavioral research firm specializing in education research and workforce training, to return to China to explore education reform.

“In conjunction with Northwest University in Xi’an, I will review government education legislation, interview provincial government officials, and observe classroom instruction at primary and secondary schools in Shaanxi,” said Conroy, who as a Boren Scholar visited 14 Chinese provinces in 2012 and 2013. “Through analyzing curriculum, pedagogy, financial distribution, and metrics of student merit in classrooms in Xi’an and the greater Shaanxi province, I will explore the challenges of funding national education mandates in China and better understand how education policy is crafted at the national level and subsequently funded and implemented at both the country and local level in Xi’an.”

Winn Davis, who earned a bachelor’s degree in international affairs at UGA and studied for a year as an undergraduate in Kazakhstan as a Boren Scholar, will spend his Fulbright year in Croatia studying its role in the region.

“My research will catalogue the policies used by the Croatian government (and) their effects on selected bilateral relationships, and then make policy recommendations for the European Union, Croatia and the United States,” said Davis, who recently completed a master’s degree in Russian and Central and East European Studies from the University of Glasgow, funded through the Erasmus Mundus program. “By combining my beliefs in equality, democratic systems and multiculturalism with my interests in culture and the post-communist space, I found a raison d’être for my work.”

Brett Heimlich, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at UGA, will take a year off from his pursuit of a joint medical and doctoral degree at Georgia Regents University to team with UNC Project-Malawi (a collaboration between the University of North Carolina and the Malawi Ministry of Health) to address gaps in sickle cell diagnosis and treatment and establish the foundation for future sickle cell research in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to his research efforts, Brett plans to partner with local pediatricians to create a community education program for sickle cell disease within Malawi. The program will be modeled after a successful diabetes education program he helped develop in a low-income neighborhood in Augusta.

“My experiences in my community have confirmed the transformative power of medicine when leveraged as a vehicle for meaningful social change,” Heimlich said.

Sara Hobe, who completed a master’s degree in classical languages at UGA, will begin her doctoral studies in Germany at the University of Freiburg. During her Fulbright year, Hobe will conduct research exploring how the comic playwrights of ancient Greece grappled with contemporaneous scientific ideas.

“My work will reveal the societal significance of nascent ancient Greek science as seen through the lens of comic plays,” said Hobe. Hobe is particularly interested in how the scientific dialogue within these plays had a more pragmatic than comedic purpose, and is looking forward to taking advantage of the wealth of resources within her field offered at Freiburg.

Christine Pardue, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English, will teach conversational English at a high school in Gabrovo, Bulgaria. Pardue previously worked as an English teacher in a Hungarian kindergarten, as an English and a second language conversation tutor, and as a tutor to underserved students in the Athens area. Upon her return to the U.S., she intends to attend graduate school and study library science, English literature or creative writing.

“Outside of school hours, I want to run a personal writing workshop-I’m interested in finding ways to use first-person forms like letters and personal essays to put myself and my students in conversation with our families, our histories, and each other,” said Pardue

Lauren Satterfield, who earned a master’s degree in wildlife conservation, plans to collect, share and develop data on some 85 caves in Cyprus. Upon completion of her Fulbright year, Satterfield says she plans to pursue a wildlife position that will allow her to remain overseas with the ultimate goal of earning a doctorate in wildlife and natural resources and leading a research group of her own.

“Currently, no protections exist for cave systems in Cyprus, mainly due to lack of data,” said Satterfield. “Experience tells us that unprotected caves are susceptible to vandalism, inadvertent damage during industrial activities, water quality degradation, and other habitat destruction. This (Fulbright) project will serve to educate local communities about this valuable resource, help mining companies choose and develop extraction sites in a more environmentally sustainable fashion, protect habitat for cave-dwelling bats and amphibians, and allow environmental groups to lobby for cave protections.”

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