UNA Pressroom

Fulbright Grants Offered To 4 Una Students, Alumni

Apr. 16, 2019

Michelle Eubanks, UNA, at media@una.edu, 256.765.4392 or 256.606.2033

Matthew Price

Premier National and International Awards

FLORENCE, Ala.- The University of North Alabama continues its success with the United States Student Fulbright Program. This year, two students and two alumni from UNA are recipients of a Fulbright grant for 2019-2020. With this year's success, the program has selected five UNA students in the last three years.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government's flagship international educational exchange program and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries.

UNA's Peyton Byrd, Bradford Carter, Walker Mattox and Barbara "Jimmie" Waites will join over 2,100 Americans who will study, conduct research and teach abroad for the 2019-2020 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Peyton Byrd, a December 2018 graduate from Spring Hill, Tennessee, and a graduate of Spring Hill High School, has been awarded an English Teaching Assistantship to the Czech Republic. She graduated UNA Cum Laude with a concentration inphotographyin theDepartment of Visual Arts and Design.

Byrd wants to teach photography to her students in the city of Hronov as a way of getting them to discuss their relationship with their community.

Brad Carter, a May 2018 graduate from Meridianville, Alabama, and a graduate of Hazel Green High School, has been awarded an English Teaching Assistantship to Taiwan. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree incomputer information systemsin the College of Business and also is an alumni of UNA'sHonors College.

While at UNA, Carter was active as a tutor for quantitative methods courses and was a Cross-Cultural Conversation Partner.

Carter says that his time in the Honors College was one of the more formative experiences at UNA.

"I owe my mindfulness to community service to UNA's Honors College," he said. "Community service is an integral component of both the Honors College and the Fulbright Program."

Carter will live in the rural county of Yilan where he will start a science, technology, engineering and mathematics camp designed to help young students explore different careers within STEM.

Walker Mattox from Starkville, Mississippi will graduate from UNA in May and is a graduate of Starkville High School. She has been awarded an English Teaching Assistantship to Malaysia.A member of UNA's cross-country team and a mathematics fellow, Mattox will receive her degree inmathematicsand wants to pursue a career in academia when she returns.

Mattox wants to find a way to combine her love of teaching and sports.

"Being an athlete my whole life, I always found some friendly competition to be fun and push me further as a person in general," she said. "I want to share that with my students. I am going to create an after-school, cross-country fitness program to teach them the importance of living a balanced and healthy life."

While teaching will be her focus, this will be Mattox's first time traveling out of the country, so exploring will be a priority.

"Traveling has always been a passion of mine, and I know the Fulbright will offer me lots of opportunity to do it."

Barbara "Jimmie" Waites from Madison, Alabama, will graduate from UNA in May and is a graduate of East Limestone High School. She, like Carter, has also been awarded an English Teaching Assistantship to Taiwan.

This year she earns a Bachelor of Business Administration inmarketingin the College of Business with minors ininnovation engineeringandinternational political economy.

Waites said she couldn't believe the notification letter she received announcing that she'd been selected for the Fulbright program.

"It was surreal," she said. "I picked up my laptop and walked straight into Dr. [Matthew] Price's office because I needed more validation that this email was meant to be sent to me."

While in Taiwan, Waites hopes to use her background in marketing to help her community.

"I will create a service project in Taiwan that would allow me to employ my business skillset," she said. "It will be called the 'Youth Career Incubator,' which will give students an apparatus to support, explore and develop their career ambitions as well as opportunities to improve their English."

Matthew Price, Director ofPremier National and International Awards,is not surprised by UNA's awardees.

"Fulbright selected some amazing students who think of cultural exchange and engagement in interesting and diverse ways," he said.

In addition, he said that this record-setting year was due to many of the investments UNA has made in the student experience.

"From the Honors College to the University Success Center, study abroad and student engagement, these winners leveraged their experiences at UNA to win their Fulbright award."

When it comes to applying, all of the awardees mention one thing: Do it.

"It may seem to be an intimidating feat but you are not alone," Byrd said. "You will have so much support and wisdom from your mentor that even if you don't end up receiving a grant, it's worth the growth you go through in the process. I learned more about myself and my motivations during this process than I had expected and I am forever grateful for it."

Waites said she could have applied for Fulbright on her own, but being successful is another story.

"I would not be a Fulbright recipient without the aid and resources from Dr. Price and the Office of Premier National and International Awards that continually bolstered me throughout my entire Fulbright application process."

Mattox said that by just applying an applicant learns so much about themselves.

"I learned that I am much more capable of such an honor than I thought I was," she said. "Not in a million years did I think I had what it took for a Fulbright before this process started.It is pretty amazing what one can do when taking up a challenge."

The Fulbright 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 over 160 countries worldwide.

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as their record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.

Fulbright recipients join an elite group that includes "heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs, and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists, and teachers. They include 59 Nobel Laureates, 82 Pulitzer Prize winners, 72 MacArthur Fellows, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, and thousands of leaders across the private, public and non-profit sectors," according to the Fulbright website.

Current undergraduate and graduate students and alumni who might be interested in applying to the US Student Fulbright Program should contact Dr. Price atmprice2@una.edu.


The University of North Alabama is an accredited, comprehensive regional state university offering undergraduate and graduate degree programsthrough the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business,Education and Human Sciences, and the Anderson College of Nursing.Occupying a 130-acre campus in a residential section of Florence, Alabama, UNA is located within a four-city area that also includes Tuscumbia, Sheffield and Muscle Shoals. UNA Athletics, a renownedcollegiate athletics program with seven (7) Division II National Championships, is now a proud member of the NCAA Division I's ASUN and Big South Conferences.The University of North Alabama is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate in the admission policy on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, age or national origin.