UNA named top Fulbright producer


Alex Hopper, News Editor

UNA is a top producer of U.S. Fulbright students for a second year. 

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s premiere international exchange program. 

Accepted students receive the chance to either pursue a research project, a Master’s degree, or partake in the English teaching assistant program in over 150 countries. 

Director of the Office of Premier National and International Awards Mathew Price speaks about the Fulbright program. 

“It is a part of the diplomatic mission of the United States,” said Price. “The idea is to put the best of American students abroad.”

“It [seeks to] strengthen relationships between the US and that country,” said Price. 

Students all across the U.S. submit applications to be sent to a national screening committee. Next, the individual countries receive a shortlist and make their final decisions. 

“It’s a pretty lengthy process of a lot of revisions and things like that,” said Price. “Our applicants are involved in this process for almost a year by the time that they’re selected.”

Between the last two years, eight UNA students have been selected to participate in this program. 

“[this] is a good number for us to have as the institution that we are,” said Price. “We’re a top producer, as labeled by the US State Department for the last two years, which means that the number that we have produced as an institution is above most of our institutional peers.”

Price helps all UNA Fulbright applicants throughout the process. 

All applicants have to submit two statements – one personal and one statement of purpose. 

“What I end up helping the students do is cram how amazing they are, and how much potential they have in one page,” said Price. “It’s a hard thing for them to do.”

“I’m involved in each step, to be a support structure for them,” said Price. 

Price believes UNA students deserve their chance to show their skills abroad. 

“UNA students are amazing,” said Price. “The world needs to hear you.”

Price provides an example of how UNA student’s unique experiences can be an asset in this program. 

“The English teaching assistantship in Malaysia is a rural teaching assistantship,” said Price. “That’s basically the lives of most of our students.”

“They know rural education better than most,” said Price.  “They are perfect for something like going into another rural school system and bringing those experiences there.” 

Price believes UNA students need to be a part of the world stage. 

“I think the reason we’ve had eight [participants] in two years is because the screening committees and those countries recognize how valuable of an experience we bring to the table.”

Fulbright participant Margaret Carpenter speaks about her experience with the program. 

Carpenter applied for the English Teaching Assistantship for both the 20-21 and 21-22 terms in Brazil. 

“Fulbright presented itself to me as something as a personal challenge,” said Carpenter. “I was a newly upperclassman trying to figure out the limits of my own academic ability.”

Carpenter found everything she was looking for in the Fulbright program. 

“It was everything I could have wanted from a grant: the chance to travel, to absorb new culture and language, and to explore academia as a place of cultural exchange,” said Carpenter. 

Carpenter explains that any student could be selected for a Fulbright program. 

“Fulbright favors people with interesting stories,” said Carpenter. “They are looking for people who actually represent the diversity of experience and culture within the U.S.”

“I would encourage any student who thinks they as an individual are a good fit for the scholarship to apply – they may find they are a much better fit than they know,” said Carpenter. 

Price agrees that the process of applying for a Fulbright is a worthwhile experience in itself.

“Anybody that applies for a Fulbright is, to me, a Fulbrighter,” said Price. “To go through the process of enunciating and putting down on paper the ways you want to make the world a better place – that is a reward of its own.”

UNA, with the direction of Price, continues to foster the success of students in the internationally acclaimed Fulbright program.