UNA Pressroom

Four Una Students Offered Fulbright Grants

Jun. 11, 2020

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

Michelle Eubanks, UNA, at meubanks@una.edu, 256-606-2033 or 256-765-4392 FLORENCE, AL - Four University of North Alabama students have been offered Fulbright grants for the upcoming 2020-2021 year. The Fulbright Program is the United States government's flagship international education exchange program and is designed to build lasting connections between people of the United States and the people of other countries. 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 more than 160 countries worldwide. UNA's Margaret Carpenter, Elisa Coker, Candice Fawcett, and Brandon Sanders join more than 2,100 Americans who will study, conduct research, and teach abroad for the upcoming academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Margaret Carpenter, of Athens, an English major with a minor in Applied Linguistics, has been offered an English Teaching Assistantship to Brazil. For Carpenter, the chance to live and work in Brazil is a dream come true. "There are some things I expect my time in Brazil will do: Cement my passion for the study of language and culture, encourage my love of traveling and seeing new places, and maybe even clarify my goals going forward in academia," she said. When Carpenter returns from her year abroad, she plans to pursue a doctorate in linguistics with a focus on socio-linguistics. Elisa Coker, of Birmingham, has been offered an English Teaching Assistantship to Indonesia. Being selected for a Fulbright to teach abroad is the culmination of her academic journey at UNA. A graduate of the Masters of Arts in Education with a specialization in teaching English as a second language, Coker said she is ready to bring the music culture of the Shoals to her students in Indonesia. "I am most excited about implementing 'American Culture through Music' wherein we will analyze music lyrics to build vocabulary and strengthen English fluency but dive deeper toinvestigate American socio-economics, political difference, and racial disparities through music," Coker said. When she returns, Coker said she is committed to teaching English internationally and bringing the Shoals' rich culture with her wherever she goes. Candice Fawcett, of Arab, who graduated from UNA with a Masters in literature from the English department, has been offered an English Teaching Assistantship to Greece. For Fawcett, being selected for a Fulbright affirmed her belief in the ability of those who come from small rural towns to achieve great things. "Winning this prestigious award tells me that everything I have worked toward in my life has been worth something, leading to something, and building me into the individual and professional that I hoped to be," she said. "It means that a woman from a large family with limited means, a first-generation college student from a tiny southern town in Alabama, can have achievements on par with the country's top Ivy Leaguers." Brandon Sanders, of Trinity, a graduate of the College of Businesses' Computer and Information Systems program, said being offered an English Teaching Assistantship to South Korea will allow him to work toward a career in Foreign Service. Having spent two years studying abroad in China and Japan through UNA's Office of International Affairs, Sanders said he is looking for the little things that can happen while living abroad for a year. "Just living in Korea is what I'm looking forward to the most. The best experiences I've had during my previous times abroad were everyday interactions - stuff like giving a souvenir dollar to a food stall owner and seeing him go nuts and start shoving baozi into every pocket of my backpack or accidentally asking a fisherman if I could praise his Shiba Inu instead of pet it only to realize later why he was chuckling," Sanders said. Sanders said he plans to pursue governmental service when he returns from Korea and will begin preparing for the application process to the U.S. Foreign Service. Dr. Matthew Price, Director of the Office of Premier National and International Awards at UNA, administers the U.S. Fulbright process on campus and works with all applicants throughout the application process. "This year's applicants were just so interesting," he said. "Each applicant had a unique thing about them that Fulbright couldn't pass up - from someone who taught themselves Portuguese, to a 47-year-old non-traditional student with a passion for teaching English, to a student who spent two years in China and Japan, to a first-generation student with a burning passion for howtheater brings communities together. This year's applicants highlighted UNA's unique student body." A sentiment shared by all of this year's Fulbright recipients is how UNA prepared them for the rigors of the application process and for their Fulbright experience. "The support and encouragement from the Office of Premier Awards, as well as fellow UNA Fulbright applicants, the UNA English Department, professors, and faculty truly showed me how unique and incredible the UNA community is," said Fawcett. "It is a mecca of support ready and waiting to devotedly help you reach your goals and wildest aspirations." Fulbright recipients address critical global challenges in all disciplines while building relationships, knowledge, and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 59 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 84 who have received Pulitzer Prizes, and 37 who have served as head of state or government. About The University of North Alabama The University of North Alabama is an accredited, comprehensive regional state university offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs through the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Human Sciences, and the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions. Occupying a 130-acre campus in a residential section of Florence, Alabama, UNA is located within a four-city area that also includes Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia. UNA Athletics, a renowned collegiate athletics program with seven (7) Division II National Championships, is now a proud member of the NCAA Division I's ASUN Big South Conference. 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. For more: www.una.edu and www.una.edu/unaworks/