University of Georgia boasts 2007-2008 Fulbright student winners

University of Georgia boasts 2007-2008 Fulbright student winners and Fulbright-Hays dissertation award recipient

Athens, Ga.-Six recent University of Georgia graduates were named Fulbright recipients for the 2007-2008 academic year.

Kelly Proctor of Urbanna, Va.; Evan Randall of Marietta; Alejandro Crawford of Fayetteville; and Matthew Wooten of Cleveland were awarded Fulbright student scholarships for study abroad opportunities. Adrienne Kay of Norcross and Michael Levengood of Lilburn were awarded English teaching assistantships. Doctoral student Jessie Fly of St. Louis, Mo. received a Fulbright-Hays dissertation research award.

The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is the largest international exchange program offered in America. The scholarship, which covers travel costs and living expenses, has sent approximately 279,500 people to study, research or teach overseas. An outstanding academic or professional record and demonstrated leadership potential are among the selection criteria.

“This is a terrific travel-study scholarship,” said Steve Elliott-Gower, UGA’s Fulbright Program advisor, “and it serves as vital a purpose as ever in promoting international understanding. We need even more UGA students to take advantage of this opportunity.”

In mid-December, Proctor, who received her bachelor’s degree in newspaper journalism in the spring, will study environmental journalism at Renmin University of China in Beijing. Proctor’s UGA experience contributed to her interest in China when she compared environmental reporting between Chinese and American newspapers through the Honors Program’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CURO) summer research fellowship program. She also has interned for Bloomberg News in Washington, D.C. where she was a member of the U.S. presidential press pool and covered stocks as an intern for Bloomberg News in Hong Kong.

“I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity at this point in history,” said Proctor, who has been to China before as an intern in the marketing department of a shipyard crane manufacturer in Shanghai. “The United States and China will only grow more connected as the years pass, and the environment surely will be part of that dialogue. As a reporter, I hope to contribute anything I can to that conversation.”

In January 2008, Randall, who earned bachelor’s degrees in risk management and insurance and Chinese studies (Honors Interdisciplinary Studies) last December, will be studying at Peking University’s school of economics in Beijing. Randall credits his participation in the Leonard Leadership Scholars Program through UGA’s Terry College of Business and the Honors Program’s Interdisciplinary Field Program as life-changing academic experiences that prepared him for his Fulbright research in China.

“I am very excited to spend nine months at Peking University, China’s premier liberal arts university,” said Randall, whose senior thesis focused on translating Chinese primary and secondary sources to recreate the banking networks of early 1900s Shanghai. “The Fulbright experience will help me better understand the structural changes of the Chinese economy and provide daily practice with spoken Chinese.”

Proctor and Randall also were selected for the Fulbright Critical Language Enhancement Award for additional language training prior to their Fulbright assignments. They are currently participating in the Harbin Chinese Language Program in northeast China through CET Academic Programs, a Washington, D.C.-based private study abroad organization.

On the European front, Crawford, who received his bachelor’s degree in English last December, is currently living and working as a writer in Portugal. His Fulbright project involves writing a poem in three parts based on the three issues of Orpheu, a 1915 Portuguese literary magazine, which advocated the Modernism movement in arts and literature. Crawford participated in the Honors Program’s Interdisciplinary Field Program, studying anthropology, ecology and geology in the western U.S. the summer before his freshman year and spent a year in England through the UGA@Oxford study abroad program during his sophomore year.

“When I got the envelope in the mail about Fulbright, I was nervous,” said Crawford, who hopes to have a manuscript of his Fulbright project ready for publication by the end of next year. “Then when I opened the envelope, I sprinted down the street to tell my friends the great news.”

During his Fulbright trip in 2008, Wooten, who recently earned an interdisciplinary degree in modern history and politics, economics and Latin American and Caribbean studies, will research the relationship between transnational mining operations and local communities in northwestern Argentina. He is currently enrolled in the Latin American studies graduate program at the University of Texas at Austin, focusing his research on human rights issues within the realm of international development.

“I feel honored to have been awarded this opportunity to not only develop my research, but also to represent an American voice interested in contributing to a mutual, balanced understanding between the United States and Argentina,” said Wooten, who has studied and worked in Mexico and Peru when he was a UGA student.

Starting in March 2008, Kay, a spring graduate with Spanish and international business degrees, will serve as an assistant English language teacher at the National University of Villa Maria in Cordoba, Argentina and also plans to study Portuguese. During her undergraduate days at UGA, Kay volunteered as a translator, taught adult English as a second language classes and participated in internship programs at UGA’s Small Business Development Center and the Honors Program’s Honors in Washington program.

“When I opened the email that informed me I received the Fulbright, I was completely stunned. I had been holding my breath for it all semester,” said Kay, who was a UGA First Honor Graduate with a perfect 4.0 GPA. “This is a chance for me to not only teach and travel, but also to make a difference in an Argentine community. I hope to accomplish this in a way that teaches me about the culture and share a little of my culture.”

Levengood, who earned geography and economics degrees this past May, will be at the Universidad Austral in Valdivia, Chile and hopes to conduct research in city planning and development. A UGA Foundation Fellow, Levengood was involved with Habitat for Humanity and volunteered as an English as a second language teacher. He also has traveled to northern Europe through a semester at sea program, and studied in Chile and Egypt.

“Volunteering to teach once a week has been an incredibly rewarding and enjoyable experience, and it has ultimately inspired me to teach English abroad,” said Levengood, who would like to attend law school or enroll in graduate studies in economic development or urban planning after his return. “I look forward to expanding the teaching skills that I’ve acquired over the last few years.”

Through the Fulbright-Hays dissertation award, Fly, an anthropology doctoral student at UGA, is currently investigating how the ecological legacy of herbicidal warfare in the mangrove forests of southern Vietnam affects people’s abilities to handle crop loss after extreme natural disasters.

“Once I get my degree in December 2009, I hope to teach at a small, liberal arts college similar to where I went as an undergraduate,” said Fly, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Hendrix College in Conway, Ark. “I hope to teach classes in ethnobotany, historical ecology, and environmental justice and am excited that my research will contribute a great deal to my real-life knowledge of these topics.”

For more information about Fulbright international opportunities available to U.S. students, see http://us.fulbrightonline.org/home.html.

For more information on UGA’s Honors Program, see http://www.uga.edu/honors.