UNL sets record with 10 Fulbright winners

Photo Credit: Gateway
Thu, 04/21/2016 - 16:28

A record 10 University of Nebraska-Lincoln students have earned Fulbright awards for the 2016-17 academic year, while four more have been chosen as alternates.

The university’s previous record for Fulbrights awarded in a single academic year was nine in 2011.

The Fulbright Program, established in 1946 and funded by the U.S. Department of State, is designed to foster understanding between the United States and other countries. The U.S. Student Fulbright program gives recent graduates, graduate students and young professionals the opportunity to conduct research, study or teach in one of 160 designated countries. Recipients are awarded the Fulbright on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as their potential for leadership.

There are two types of the nationally competitive award: the research/study award, which supports students working on a project in a foreign country; and the English Teaching Assistantship award, which places recent graduates in classrooms abroad to provide assistance to local English language teachers. The students are also cultural ambassadors for the United States.

"These are outstanding students whose success in this competition is a result of the opportunities that they have taken advantage of while at UNL, especially their time abroad," said Laura Damuth, UNL's fellowship adviser.See all 2016 UNL Fulbright fellows

Though the 10 students sets a university record, the number of UNL students who earn Fulbrights could continue to grow in the coming weeks because Fulbrights are not awarded all at once. UNL students who have been notified that they have won Fulbright awards so far this year are:

  • Katelyn Hemmeke – From Hamilton, Michigan, Hemmeke will graduate this spring with a master's degree in English. She will return to her birth country of South Korea, where she previously had a Fulbright ETA, to conduct research on Korean transnational adoptees searching for their birth families.

  • Annie Himes – Himes, from Omaha, will graduate this spring from the University Honors Program with bachelor's degrees in Russian, history and global studies and minors in Spanish, English, human rights and humanitarian affairs, women's and gender studies, and political science. She will return to Russia, where she once studied, for her Fulbright ETA.

  • Ethan Koopman – Koopman earned bachelor's degrees in physics, mathematics and German in August 2015. A native of Meadow Grove, he will return to Germany, where he once studied, for a Fulbright ETA.

  • Bailey Lathrop – A UNL Honors Program student with majors in geology and anthropology and minors in Spanish and mathematics, Lathrop has been awarded a study/research grant to Argentina. The Valley native will study rock formations in the Cuyo Group in the Neuquen Basin with other researchers at the National University of La Plata's Geologic Research Center.

  • Sophia Loveless – A Kearney native, Loveless graduated in May 2015 from the University Honors Program with bachelor's degrees in political science, global studies and history and minors in ethnic studies, human rights and humanitarian affairs, and African studies. She will return to Rwanda, where she once volunteered as an English language teacher, for her Fulbright ETA.

  • Rachel O'Hanlon – A 2014 graduate who studied psychology, Japanese and sociology, O'Hanlon will travel to Bulgaria as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. Since graduating, O'Hanlon, of Lincoln, has been teaching the English language in Amakusa, Japan, through the JET Program.

  • Helen Pitts – A graduate student working toward a master's degree in German and foreign language pedagogy, Pitts will return to Germany, where she studied in 2013, for her Fulbright ETA. Pitts, of Lincoln, graduated from UNL's Honors Program in 2014 with bachelor's degrees in German and mathematics and a minor in European studies.

  • Kevin Thor – A Stanton native, Thor will return to Vietnam, where he volunteered and taught English in 2014, for his Fulbright ETA. He will graduate in May with bachelor's degrees in communication studies and management.

  • Josh Valdez – An aspiring international human rights lawyer, Valdez will travel to Russia for his Fulbright ETA. Valdez, of Lincoln, will graduate in May with bachelor's degrees in French and Russian.

Victoria ChraibiEmma DeVriesJohnica Morrow and Mariah Wailes, all of Lincoln, have been named alternates. This status indicates that a candidate could be offered an award if additional funding becomes available. Chraibi is an alternate for a research project in Norway. She is a doctoral student at UNL, studying atmospheric sciences and geoscience education. DeVries is an alternate for a museum studies degree at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. She will graduate this spring with bachelor's degrees in art and anthropology. Morrow is an alternate for a research project in Lithuania. She is a doctoral student in applied ecology. Wailes is an alternate for a Fulbright ETA to Mexico. She will graduate this spring with bachelor's degrees in Spanish and secondary education.