MACON – Mercer University recently concluded an unprecedented year in terms of student success with the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.
Mercer had a remarkable 13 seniors recognized by the Fulbright Program, including a record five finalists who will teach or study abroad in Finland, Mongolia, Morocco, South Africa and Spain, as well as one alternate and seven semifinalists.
A finalist is an applicant who was approved by the host country and offered a Fulbright U.S. Student Award. An alternate may be promoted to finalist status if additional funding becomes available, and a semifinalist was approved by the national screening committee for review by the host country.
“I am exceptionally pleased with the performance of our students this year. They were not only highly qualified for this competitive award, but they worked very hard fine-tuning the components of their application in a short period of time,” said Dr. Edward Weintraut, Fulbright Program adviser and professor of foreign languages and literatures at Mercer. “Faculty and staff on the screening committee certainly need to be commended on their mentoring, but we cannot underestimate the positive impact of Dr. Cameron Kunzelman, our recently appointed coordinator of fellowships and scholarships, who worked intensively with a number of our applicants this year. We expect an equally large and promising group of students to apply for the 2020-2021 competition.”
The following list includes these Class of 2020 students, their hometowns, majors, Fulbright status and the country associated with their Fulbright application:
- Macire Aribot (Lithonia, Georgia): international affairs and global development double-major; semifinalist, Senegal
- Madeline Cole (Macon, Georgia): English major; semifinalist, Italy
- Ariel Daniels (Milledgeville, Georgia): political science and international affairs double-major; finalist, Morocco
- Will Darragh (Greenwood, South Carolina): computer science major; finalist, South Africa
- Alyssa Fortner (Chickamauga, Georgia): international affairs and global development double-major; semifinalist, South Africa
- Sarah Harris (Austell, Georgia): French and international affairs double-major; alternate, Cote d’Ivoire
- Meg Hicks (Warm Springs, Georgia): international affairs and anthropology double-major; finalist, Mongolia
- Brianna Levin (Marietta, Georgia): global health major; semifinalist, Taiwan
- Jessica Lewis (Hilliard, Ohio): holistic child major; finalist, Spain
- Grace Maloney (Marietta, Georgia): holistic child major; semifinalist, Latvia
- Nidhi Shashidhara (Jacksonville, Florida): environmental studies major; semifinalist, South Korea
- David Stokes (Atlanta, Georgia): international affairs and religion double-major; semifinalist, Bahrain
- Johna Wright (Thomson, Georgia): psychology major; finalist, Finland
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program currently awards more than 2,000 grants annually in all fields of study and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.
The program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. Since then, it has given more than 390,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 60 Nobel Prize winners, 86 Pulitzer Prize winners, 37 current or former heads of state or government and thousands of leaders across the private, public and nonprofit sectors.