Sunday April 14th, 2024 10:41AM

UNG named top producer of Fulbright students

By AccessWDUN Staff

The University of North Georgia was recently named a top producer of Fulbright students in its category nationwide with nine Fulbright U.S. Student Program selections for 2023-24.

A list released by the U.S. Department of State on Feb. 13 showed that UNG was the best among 12 master's institutions to make the list.

"The University of North Georgia students and alumni continue to bolster their reputation as trailblazers ready to lead from a global context," UNG President Michael Shannon said. "The leadership development they receive while at UNG is second to none, and we are grateful to see them using their leadership skills to impact the world." 

UNG, Emory University and the University of Georgia were the only universities in Georgia on this year's list, which included a total of 170 schools. This is UNG's seventh year in a row as a Fulbright top producer.

The Fulbright is a highly competitive fellowship that allows recent graduates and graduate students to pursue research, earn a graduate degree or teach English overseas. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between U.S. citizens and residents of more than 160 foreign countries, according to the Fulbright website.

"Our students and alumni consistently set themselves apart in the Fulbright process. Their desire to make an impact on the world both abroad and in their home communities is unmatched," Dr. Anastasia Lin, assistant vice president for Academic Affairs and director of the Nationally Competitive Scholarships office, said. "Our students also benefit from UNG’s exceptional faculty and staff who hone our students’ global leadership skills through expert mentoring."

Anna Kubas, a fall 2022 graduate from Elberton with a degree in modern languages with a Russian language and literature concentration, is serving as an English teaching assistant in Kazakhstan during this academic year. After learning Russian in high school, at UNG and in a summer immersion program at Middlebury Language Schools in Vermont, Kubas decided to pursue the Fulbright.

"I wanted to pay it forward and serve others through teaching," Kubas said.  

Kubas had previously applied twice for the Critical Language Scholarship and was an alternate for the Boren Scholarship. A National Service Leadership Track graduate and former member of UNG's Corps of Cadets, Kubas encourages others to chase similarly ambitious goals and apply for national awards.

"The experience on the other side is life-changing. Even if you don't get it, you will develop your hard skills of essay writing," Kubas said. "It helps you be introspective about your values and what you want. The essay process is always going to develop you." 

2nd Lt. Phillip Ly, a fall 2022 graduate from Forest Park with a degree in strategic and security studies, is an English teaching assistant in Vietnam for 2023-24. The experience is helping him reconnect with his family's Vietnamese roots while serving others.

"I love teaching students here and that I can broaden their global perspective by teaching them English," Ly said.  

Finally, Karen Garcia, a fall 2022 graduate from Clarkesville with a degree in modern languages with a Spanish language and literature concentration and a minor in Korean, recently arrived in South Korea and is undergoing training before beginning to teach.

"It's a unique experience and Fulbright Korea provides a great orientation that prepares future English teaching assistants for their year as teachers," Garcia said. "They also provide a great support system that helps them find a living space and integrate into a new country." 

While Garcia, Kubas and Ly are 2023-24 Fulbright recipients, this month alumna Kelly Reid begins her third year as a Fulbright English teaching assistant in South Korea.

"The Fulbright Program helps you expand your horizons while serving others," Reid said.  

Students interested in learning more about the Fulbright program should contact the Nationally Competitive Scholarships Office at [email protected] for more information. 


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