UGA students awarded a record number of Fulbright scholarships in 2009-2010

UGA students awarded a record number of Fulbright scholarships in 2009-2010

Athens, Ga. – A record number of University of Georgia students-10-have been selected to receive scholarships from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for research, study, or teaching abroad during the 2009-2010 academic year.

Eight of the UGA recipients have accepted the scholarships. The English Teaching Assistantship Grant awardees, who will serve as language-learning assistants in schools or universities, include spring graduates Samantha Haggard of Atlanta, Jason Kim of Martinez, and Kelly Nielsen of Brooklet.

The recipients of the U.S. Student Full Grants for study and research opportunities include doctoral students Christine Beitl of Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., David Porcaro of Winterville, Julie Rushmore of Alpharetta, and Desiree Seponski of Statham, plus Robert Kazer of Roswell, who earned a bachelor’s degree in the spring.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is the largest international exchange program in the country. Created in 1946 to develop cross-cultural understanding and support international cooperation, the program awards approximately 1,500 grants annually and operates in more than 130 countries worldwide.

“The record number of Fulbright grants awarded this year is a testament to our students’ exceptional academic talent, ingenuity, and dedication to service, and is further proof that UGA stands as a leader in international education,” said Maria de Rocher, campus Fulbright U.S. Student Program advisor and program coordinator in the Honors Program.

Haggard, who graduated in May with a master’s degree in foreign language education with teaching certification, will spend a year in Argentina. She has already completed two study-abroad programs to Spain and has teaching experience in K-12 and university classrooms in the fields of Spanish, history, political science, art and mathematics. Haggard previously earned a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in Spanish from UGA in May 2006.

Kim, who earned bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and criminal justice in May, will be in Portugal for a year. While an undergraduate, Kim served as an English-as-a-second-language conversational tutor to university students and as a volunteer tutor for elementary school children in Athens’ Latino communities through the Oasis Católico Santa Rafaela outreach program. He also served as an English translator for parent-teacher conferences at a local elementary school. He spent part of his senior year in Argentina, taking Spanish language and literature courses at the Universidad de Palermo.

Nielsen, who earned a bachelor’s degree in theatre in May, is currently in Indonesia. While at UGA, Nielsen served as a math and reading/writing tutor for middle and high school students during a summer program at a charter school and, designed and led instruction at a summer day camp for children ages 5-14. Her other travel abroad experiences include a five-week study-abroad program in India and independent travel to Poland and Ukraine.

Beitl, who is pursuing a doctorate in ecological and environmental anthropology at UGA, will spend a year in Ecuador. She will investigate how local fishermen in coastal communities adapt to environmental change and work to conserve and protect coastal resources via grassroots movements and organizations. Bietl also was offered the prestigious Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award. She holds a master’s degree in Latin American studies from Florida International University.

Porcaro, who is a doctoral student in learning, design and technology in UGA’s College of Education, will travel to Oman for a year. He will focus on creating a multi-media learning module for an existing instructional technology course at Sultan Quaboos University. Porcaro earned a master’s of philosophy degree in oriental studies from the University of Cambridge in England.

Rushmore, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in ecology and a doctorate in veterinary medicine, will spend a year in Uganda. She will be conducting research on how close-contact pathogen transmission rates affect the conservation of African great apes. Rushmore received her bachelor’s degree in biological anthropology and anatomy from Duke University.

Seponski, who is a doctoral student in child and family development in UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences, will travel to Cambodia for a year. Her dissertation research focuses on creating culturally responsive family therapy protocols for Cambodian therapists and clients. Seponski holds a master’s degree in child and family development from UGA.

Kazer, who received a bachelor’s degree in international affairs in May, will spend a year in Jordan. He will conduct research on the origins and establishment of Jordanian domestic policies focused on Iraqi refugees. His analysis will highlight how these policies relate to the country’s experience with Palestinian refugees. He already has studied in Morocco and taken Arabic language courses in Jordan and Yemen.

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.

For more information on the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award, see http://www.ed.gov/programs/iegpsddrap/index.html or contact David A. Knauft, Associate Dean of the Graduate School at dknauft@uga.edu.