Two Mercerians selected for 2022-23 Fulbright Awards to teach abroad

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headshots of justin henry, on left, and kimberly tibbetts, on right
From left, Justin Henry and Kimberly Tibbetts.

MACON — Two Mercerians were selected to receive Fulbright U.S. Student Awards for the 2022-2023 academic year, with one additional student selected as an alternate. 

Justin Henry and Kimberly Tibbetts were chosen as finalists and awarded Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships to Colombia and Spain, respectively. Kaitlyn Fowler was selected as an alternate for a Fulbright Study/Research Grant to attend the Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research master’s program at Tampere University in Finland and may receive an award if additional funding becomes available.

Mercer University has a total of 32 student and alumni Fulbright Award recipients over the past 14 selection cycles dating back to 2010. 

“Dozens of Mercerians have changed the world as Fulbrighters by sharing American culture with host countries around the globe. We are proud of all the students who applied this year. All of them demonstrated resourcefulness and empathy, and they will change the world in remarkable ways,” said Dr. David A. Davis, director of fellowships and scholarships at Mercer. 

In addition, five Class of 2023 graduates were named semifinalists during this award cycle, including Savannah Granito, an art history and business double-major; Mary Helene Hall, a journalism and women’s and gender studies double-major; Madison Holloway, a biomedical engineering major; McKenna Kaufman, a journalism and international affairs double-major; and Alexander “J.P.” Lutz, a political science, international affairs and history triple-major.

headshot of Justin Henry
Justin Henry

Henry, from Lilburn, graduated in May with a public health and Spanish double-major from the College of Health Professions and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, respectively. Following his English Teaching Assistantship in Colombia, he plans to pursue a master’s degree in a public health discipline. 

“The Fulbright program caught my eye early on in my Mercer experience. I want to broaden my horizons and promote cultural competence and international relations not only within myself personally but on a more countrywide basis as well,” he said. “I want to explore more of my Hispanic background while immersing myself in this experience, improving upon my Spanish skills and gaining more appreciation for the world around us. I feel extremely honored to be chosen.” 

At Mercer, Henry was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Sigma Iota and Phi Eta Sigma honor societies. He was a two-time recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and was awarded a Global Leader Scholarship, Megan Murphy Scholarship and BEAR Award for Outstanding Campus Involvement. He served on the student leadership team for Mercer Admissions and executive board for the Caribbean Student Association. He belonged to Community Health and Promotion Scholars, the Organization of Black Students and Mercer Service Scholars. He also served as the Student Government Association’s chief of staff.

headshot of kimberly tibbetts
Kimberly Tibbetts

Tibbetts, from Evans, graduated in 2022 with an English and Spanish double-major from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Following her English Teaching Assistantship in Spain, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in English or linguistics. She also would like to continue teaching English to non-native speakers. 

“Ever since high school, it has been my dream to visit Spain, and through my college experiences, I learned that I also wanted to continue pursuing English by teaching it. This opportunity to teach English in Spain fit perfectly into my personal and career goals,” she said. “Importantly, I saw it as an opportunity to use the skills I’ve learned at Mercer for good. At Mercer, we talk about every student changing the world, and often, the humanities can be overlooked as a means of achieving that goal. I hope I can create positive cultural exchange during my time in Spain through the use of my English and Spanish skills.”   

At Mercer, Tibbetts received the Outstanding Senior in Literary Studies award and a Preceptor Scholar award for her work to improve Mercer’s writing program through the creation of an on-demand writing tutor. She was named to the President’s List and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. In addition, she served as treasurer of the Common Ground student organization and had work published in Mercer’s literary magazine, The Dulcimer.

headshot of kaitlyn fowler
Kaitlyn Fowler

Fowler, from Jackson, Mississippi, graduated in May with a sociology major from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She plans to join the Mississippi Teacher Corps at Ole Miss while pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching. 

“Being an alternate is an amazing achievement, and I am glad to have received that recognition,” she said. 

At Mercer, Fowler was involved with Mercer Ambassadors, Mercer Admissions, URGE (Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity) and Women in Math and Science. She was named a Newman Civic Fellow and Stamps Scholar, received the William Fielding Ogburn Award for Excellence in Sociological Research and Alpha Kappa Delta Junior Award for Academic Achievement in Sociology, and was inducted into the Alpha Kappa Delta, Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Alpha Pi and Tri Iota honor societies.

Headshots, clockwise from bottom left, McKenna Kaufman, Savannah Granito, Mary Helene Hall, Madison Holloway and Alexander "J.P." Lutz
Clockwise from bottom left, McKenna Kaufman, Savannah Granito, Mary Helene Hall, Madison Holloway and Alexander “J.P.” Lutz

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments, host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in over 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 400,000 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 62 Nobel Prize winners, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 40 current or former heads of state or government and thousands of leaders across the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

About Mercer University 

Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. With approximately 9,000 students enrolled in 12 schools and colleges, on major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; medical school sites in Macon, Savannah and Columbus; and at regional academic centers in Henry and Douglas counties, Mercer is ranked among the top tier of national research universities by U.S. News & World Report. The Mercer Health Sciences Center includes the University’s School of Medicine and Colleges of Nursing, Health Professions and Pharmacy. Mercer is affiliated with five teaching hospitals – Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center and Piedmont Macon Medical Center in Macon; Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah; and Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital and St. Francis-Emory Healthcare in Columbus. The University also has an educational partnership with Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins. It operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer Medicine, the clinical faculty practice of the School of Medicine, is based in Macon and operates additional clinics in Sumter, Peach, Clay, Putnam and Harris counties. Mercer is one of only 293 institutions nationwide to shelter a chapter of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society; one of eight institutions to hold membership in the Georgia Research Alliance; and the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit mercer.edu