Appalachian State University Announces Five Fulbright Awardees for the 2020-2021 Awards Cycle
By Terri Lockwood
Boone, N.C. — The Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships (NCS), a division of University College at Appalachian State University, announces five Appalachian students have been awarded Fulbright Program grants. Recipients will fulfill assistantships abroad during spring of 2021.
Ten Appalachian students were semi-finalists in the 2020-2021 selection process, five were selected, a record for Appalachian. This achievement builds on the NCS office’s success from last year's award cycle when Appalachian was named a top producing institution for students among master’s level institutions.
Grant recipients include Lexie All, Caroline Sager, and Katelyn Wilder, College of Arts and Sciences graduates, Nancy Patterson, a graduate of the Beaver College of Health Sciences, and Hayley Rose, a Reich College of Education graduate. Four awardees have English teaching assistantships (ETA), while one has a Fulbright Graduate Study Award. They will travel to Spain, Cyprus, Wales, Mexico, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, respectively.
Katelyn Wilder, who earned a B.A. from Appalachian in English-creative writing and literary studies, said, "Being a Fulbrighter means I have the privilege of being an ambassador, and benefactor, of the Fulbright mission."
Wilder plans to enroll in the creative writing M.A. program at Bangor University in Wales. Her goal is to "seize the opportunity to work with the creative writing and sustainability departments to create a short story collection highlighting Wales' trials and successes as they work toward sustainability."
She initially applied for the Fulbright Bangor University Award. However, Wilder unexpectedly received the prestigious Fulbright Global Wales Postgraduate Award, which provides a higher degree of support, recognition, and more opportunities from Fulbright, Global Wales, and the Welsh Government.
Wilder said she would use information concerning Appalachia's background in the coal industry to "elicit critical dialogue between these regions to produce stories that will advocate for environmental mindfulness."
Concerning Fulbright's charge to promote international goodwill, Lexie All, who recently earned B.S. in Spanish education with minors in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) and mathematics, has an assistantship in Spain.
She said, "I am truly in awe that the Fulbright commission selected me to represent the culture, language, and common experiences of the United States of America as I pursue relationships with residents of Spain and others from around the world."
She has completed Spain-specific coursework, a study abroad program in Madrid, and a variety of teaching internships.
Regarding her experiences, All stated, "Engaging with domestic and international communities has made me recognize the power of connection across cultural perimeters and has contributed to my personal philosophy to seek affinity and new perspectives with people whose lives intersect with mine.
A shared experience communicated by each Fulbright recipient is that the process of applying for and obtaining a Fulbright award is a learning experience beyond what each expected.
Haley Rose, who graduated from Appalachian with an M.A. in special education, and a B.S. in middle grades education, said, "The application process can be tough and overwhelming at times, but I am grateful for the growth that came from it."
"I grew in ways I never would have expected. The reflective process of summarizing all of your accomplishments and credentials can be daunting, but at the same time, it gave me a greater appreciation for the journey that I am still on, both as a professional and as a person," said Rose.
She received an English teaching assistantship award and will travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Rose plans to "gather stories of the youth of Bosnia and Herzegovina in order the represent the resiliency of the nation but also weave in the potential that young minds hold and what they can accomplish for generations to come."
Carolina Sager, who graduated from Appalachian in 2018 with a B.A. and B.S. from a double major in international relations and Spanish language, said, "I loved previous abroad experience in which I was able to feel like I was fully integrated into the local community."
"During an information session at App, I learned that Fulbright was a fully-funded way to do the same thing, and decided to apply. I also had quite a few professors at App who had completed Fulbrights before, and their stories inspired me."
Sager, who has studied in Azerbaijan, Canada, and Spain, was awarded Fulbright's English teaching assistantship to Cyprus. She said, "My language learning experiences allowed me to gain nuanced perspectives into other cultures and empowered me to pursue new opportunities.
She hopes to encourage English language learning as a tool for career advancement, new partnerships, and innovation on the island of Cyprus.
Sager said, "My longstanding academic interest in the Eastern Mediterranean and a virtual internship with U.S. Embassy Cyprus drew me to an ETA [English Teaching Assistantship] in Cyprus as a way to examine the ways that the Greece-Turkey relationship is reflected (or not reflected) by Greek and Turkish Cypriots."
Nancy Patterson, an Appalachian alumna who earned a B.S. in social work, with a minor in Spanish, said, "Applying for a Fulbright scholarship is a goal that I have had in the back of my mind ever since the first informational meeting I attended in Plemmons Student Union in Spring of 2016."
Patterson, who served two years in the Peace Corps, received a Fulbright English teaching assistantship award to Mexico.
"I hoped to bring the educational skills that I developed in Colombia and adapt them to a Mexican school setting. I have also been deeply interested in Mexico for a long time as a neighboring nation that influences the U.S. so profoundly," Patterson said.
Speaking to others who may apply for a Fulbright scholarship, she said, "Know that choosing to experience the personal and professional development that comes with applying for such a prestigious award is a decision you will never regret."
More than 390,000 Fulbright recipients from the United States and other countries have participated in the Program since its inception in 1946. The Fulbright Program awards approximately 8,000 grants annually. Currently, the Fulbright Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide.
At present, the U.S. Fulbright Program is suspended worldwide. Due to the U.S. Department of State's global Level 4 Travel Advisory, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has delayed the start date of several components of the 2020-2021 Fulbright U.S. Student Program until after January 1, 2021. However, the master’s grant will start this fall, if conditions allow.
About the Fulbright Program
Senator J. William Fulbright — for whom the program is named — introduced a bill in the United States Congress designed to promote 'international goodwill' through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture, and science.'
The bill was signed into law on August 1, 1946, by President Harry S. Truman, and Congress created the Fulbright Program, a flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Government.
The Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and the United States also provide direct and indirect support.
About Nationally Competitive Scholarships
Nationally Competitive Scholarships (NCS) works with the Appalachian community to recruit and support students for nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships, including those that support research, teaching and critical language learning. This is achieved with outreach, mentorship and advising throughout the entire application and selection process. NCS is committed to helping undergraduate and graduate students find ways to connect their Appalachian education to their future endeavors through scholarship opportunities. Learn more at https://ncs.appstate.edu.
About University College
Formed in 2007, University College consists of the university’s general education program, faculty and student support, and co-curricular programming and support – all designed to support the work of students both inside and outside the classroom. All students at Appalachian begin their education in University College and benefit from its programs until they graduate. Learn more at https://universitycollege.appstate.edu.
About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, one stand-alone academic program, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. There are approximately 6,100 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at https://cas.appstate.edu.
About the Beaver College of Health Sciences
Appalachian's Beaver College of Health Sciences opened in 2010 as the result of a strategic university commitment to significantly enhance the health and quality of life for individuals, families and communities in North Carolina and beyond. In 2015, the college was named for an Appalachian alumnus and pioneer in the health care industry — Donald C. Beaver ’62 ’64 of Conover. The college offers nine undergraduate degree programs and seven graduate degree programs, which are organized into six departments: Communication Sciences and Disorders; Health and Exercise Science; Nursing; Nutrition and Health Care Management; Recreation Management and Physical Education; and Social Work. Learn more at https://healthsciences.appstate.edu.
About the Reich College of Education
Appalachian offers one of the largest undergraduate teacher preparation programs in North Carolina, graduating about 500 teachers a year. The Reich College of Education enrolls approximately 2,400 students in its bachelor's, master's, education specialist and doctoral degree programs. With so many teacher education graduates working in the state, there is at least one RCOE graduate teaching in every county in North Carolina. Learn more at https://rcoe.appstate.edu.
About graduate education at Appalachian
Appalachian State University’s Cratis D. Williams School of Graduate Studies helps individuals reach the next level in their career advancement and preparedness. The school offers 70 graduate degree and certificate programs in a range of disciplines, including doctoral programs in education (Ed.D.) and psychology (Psy.D.). Classes are offered at the main campus in Boone as well as online and face-to-face at locations around northwestern North Carolina. The graduate school enrolls nearly 1,800 students. Learn more at https://graduate.appstate.edu.