Five recent Auburn graduates were awarded Fulbright scholarships, giving Auburn 30 Fulbright scholars over the past 10 academic years.
The recipients will conduct research and serve as English teaching assistants in Poland, India and Germany. They are:
- Julia Dickenson
- Elizabeth Farrar
- Jacob Helf
- Jessie Howell
- Matt Weist
The Fulbright program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, which is intended to build lasting connections with the people of other countries. Recipients are selected based on academic and professional achievement as well as leadership potential.
"The Fulbright offers our students a life-altering experience," said Andy Gillespie, assistant provost and director of the Office of International Programs. "This international experience will forever change their views of the world and help them to realize how they can make an impact on the world."
Paul Harris, chair of the department of political science, was the long-time director for the Office of National Prestigious Scholarships, which began in 2008, until moving to his current position at the end of 2018. He worked closely with Auburn's NPS applicants.
"Our student selection brings great credit to their respective departments and upon Auburn University," Harris said. "I am especially grateful to their faculty mentors for their mentorship and guidance and for writing such strong letters of support. I am also grateful to the campus-wide Fulbright scholarship interview committee who gave generously of their time to meet with our Fulbright applicants."
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
Dickenson, of Brentwood, Tennessee, earned concurrent degrees in biomedical sciences and psychology with a pre-med concentration. She will be spending the next year teaching STEM in Poland at the university level.
She was motivated to apply for the scholarship after a study abroad trip to Spain. In addition to serving as a resident assistant, Dickenson served as president of the Big Event her senior year.
"As an RA, I learned a lot about how to express empathy in tough situations and how to effectively give advice on a number of problems," she said. "The experience and practical knowledge working with my residents' various backgrounds have prepared me for my role as an ETA in Poland and as a future physician. In Poland, I hope to bring the spirit of the Big Event to my Polish students, facilitating volunteering projects in the community where I teach throughout my year abroad."
Farrar, of Lexington, South Carolina, received a degree in biomedical sciences and minored in German. She will be an English teaching assistant in Germany.
Farrar's involvement includes being active with Delta Phi Alpha German Honor Society, volunteering with Mercy Medical Clinic, mentoring with Project Uplift and tutoring in Auburn's Office of Academic Support.
She was also received a prestigious internship for the summer of 2018, when she conducted research on the development of African trypanosomes parasites in human skin tissue at the University of Wurzburg.
She plans to attend medical school in fall 2020 to become a physician.
Helf, of Birmingham, Alabama, was the graduate marshal of his fall 2016 graduating class in interdisciplinary studies. He studied physics, hunger studies and sustainability. He also received a master's degree in science education. He will spend his next year as ETA in India.
"I could not be more excited for my experience in India," he said. "It feels as though all of my studies, experiences and connections that I have made at the University have culminated in this opportunity, and I could not be more grateful for those individuals who have helped me pursue this dream."
Along with the College of Human Sciences, Helf studied abroad in Fiji and New Zealand, studying sustainability and ecotourism. Additionally, he served as a resident assistant on campus.
"While in Dehradun, I plan to engage with my community in a variety of ways, including learning to cook local Indian dishes and leading after-school clubs for teen sports, such as soccer, as well as hiking in the beautiful mountains in Northwest India," he said.
Howell, of Vestavia Hills, Alabama, majored in mathematics and minored in German, and she'll be headed to Hamburg, Germany, to serve as an ETA.
"My favorite experience at Auburn was attending the department of foreign languages and literature's Austria study abroad program in Vienna during the summer of 2018," she said. "After studying in Vienna, I knew I wanted to return to a German-speaking country. The Fulbright ETA is the perfect opportunity to gain teaching practice, to connect with German students and other community members and to enhance my German-language skills."
Howell was a member of several honor societies while at Auburn, including Phi Beta Kappa and Delta Phi Alpha. She was also a member of the women's ultimate club and the Student Association for Mentoring and volunteered as a coach of a youth girl's basketball team.
"My goal is to be an approachable teaching assistant and to create an accepting environment for my students," she said. "I plan to coach a girls basketball team at my school, join an ultimate team in the community and tutor my students in math. I cannot wait to start forming invaluable relationships in Germany that will leave an impact on me forever just as all my Auburn friendships have done."
Weist, of Birmingham, Alabama, graduated this year with a degree in mechanical engineering and a minor in German. Having spent nine years of his childhood in Germany where his father was stationed, he will be headed back as an ETA.
While at Auburn, West completed four co-op rotations in the aviation industry and worked as an undergraduate research assistant in the GPS and Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory. He was also in the German honor society and mechanical engineering honor society. He also served as vice president of the German club.
Weist plans on pursuing a joint master's degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech and the University of Stuttgart.
Members of the Auburn Fulbright Scholarship Interview Committee helped prepare applicants for the process. Members of the committee were:
- Ken Thomas, associate director for student affairs in the Honors College
- Kerri Munoz, assistant professor of Spanish
- Aaron Trehub, assistant dean of head of special collections and archives in RBD Library
- Kara Newby, operations manager for the Hunger Solutions Institute in the College of Human Sciences
- Ralph Kingston, associate professor of history
- Korbin Dimmick, coordinator in the Office of International Programs
- Patrick Donnan, former graduate assistant in the Office of National Prestigious Scholarships
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman