MACON – Mercer University seniors Ariel Daniels and Meg Hicks recently received prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Awards to serve as Fulbright English Teaching Assistants in Morocco and Mongolia, respectively.
Daniels, from Milledgeville, is double-majoring in political science and international affairs with a minor in French.
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to return to such a rich and vibrant country as a Fulbright Scholar. I hope this experience allows me to build new relationships, improve my French and Arabic language skills, learn more about Moroccan culture, and gain valuable teaching experience to bring back to the United States,” said Daniels.
Daniels will be placed at a Moroccan public university to strengthen English language instruction by providing assistance to the permanent teaching staff.
Upon returning from Morocco, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies to continue strengthening her language skills and broaden her understanding of the region’s culture.
While at Mercer, Daniels participated in an intensive Arabic language summer program at Al-Akhawayn University in Morocco and a faculty-led spring break trip to Dubai.
She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, president of Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society, chief justice of Conduct Council, an officer in Sigma Sigma Rho Sorority and a participant in Model Arab League. She has participated in faculty-led research on environmental policy pedagogy and sex trafficking and served as a peer writing tutor.
Daniels is a Preceptor Scholar, a recipient of the Dr. James and Sandra Cox Scholarship and has been named to the Dean’s List.
“I am very proud of Ariel in her achievement of this extremely prestigious award,” said Dr. Derek Glasgow, assistant professor of political science. “To say Ariel is a leader, self-starter and adaptable is an understatement. Ariel represents the best of the Mercer undergraduate community, and I have no doubt of her ability to succeed and further develop her French and Arabic language skills, as well expand her knowledge of the diverse cultures of Morocco and other Middle Eastern countries. I have no doubt that she will excel in whatever she chooses to do with her life after graduation.”
Hicks, from Warm Springs, is double-majoring in international affairs and anthropology.
“The opportunity to teach in Mongolia as a Fulbright Scholar is very exciting, and it is a tremendous honor to be selected,” said Hicks. “After traveling to Mongolia as part of a Mercer On Mission trip last year, I knew I wanted to return. I appreciate all the support and encouragement that the faculty at Mercer provided as I went through this process.”
Hicks will be placed at a university in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, where she will teach English in the classroom and work on extracurricular activities focusing on English that are open to the broader community.
Upon returning from Mongolia, she plans to obtain a Ph.D. in anthropology.
While at Mercer, Hicks has served as a justice in the Office of Student Conduct Resolution, participant in the GirlUp Executive Board, preceptor for Introductory Cultural Anthropology and member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Eta Sigma, Pi Sigma Alpha and Golden Key honor societies. She has been named to the President’s List and Dean’s List.
“As a student interested in anthropology, Meg worked with me and Dr. Natalie Bourdon to develop an individualized program of study. Participation in the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program will allow her to immerse herself in Mongolian culture and develop language skills and relationships in her assigned community. I have no doubt that, after her Fulbright year, she will be well-prepared to enter an anthropology graduate program and eventually conduct anthropological fieldwork in Mongolia,” said Dr. Amy Nichols-Belo, associate professor of global health studies and anthropology.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries that are needed to solve global challenges. The program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the program, which operates in more than 160 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.