Fulbright program surpasses previous success; six students selected as semifinalists
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program at Liberty University has seen continued growth since its inception in 2011, and this year has proven to be the most successful in the program’s history. Of the 11 Liberty students who applied, six have been selected as semifinalists for the 2020-2021 grant cycle.
Four of the semifinalists applied for the English Teaching Assistant (ETA) grant, which is awarded to students who will be assisting English teachers in classrooms around the world. Liberty senior Alex Donley has applied to teach in Malaysia, senior Melissa Hosek in Taiwan, senior Alyssa Stacey in South Korea and graduate student Connor Schonta in Slovak Republic.
Senior Genevieve Weaver has applied for an open study/research award in South Africa.
Luis Quijano is a graduate student and a semifinalist for the Fulbright Future Scholarship, which is awarded to students who hope to have a positive impact on the lives of Australians and Americans.
Professor Edna Udobong, Fulbright Program Advisor and Scholar Liaison, said that Liberty candidates compete with the best students in the United States and that the competition is tough, and the preparation process is rigorous. She believes that having the six students selected as semifinalists is “an accomplishment for all of us.”
“I am so thankful that the hard work that is put into the program is bearing fruit. The Fulbright program takes time to grow, and this result is encouraging. I am confident that our best year is around the corner,” said Udobong.
Liberty University Fulbright Committee members have been working with the candidates and have held several training events and program development meetings for members to learn about how to get Liberty students to succeed in the Fulbright process.
During the 2018-19 Fulbright grant cycle, Liberty University had five students selected as semifinalists with two of those awarded Fulbright ETA grants. Sara Heist (’17) recently returned from teaching English in Brazil (read more about Heist’s trip) and Katarina Bouton (’17) returned to the U.S. in early 2019 after teaching English in Asturias, Spain.
Udobong believes that the success of Liberty’s Fulbright program points to the quality of Liberty’s academic programs, but it also touches on the school’s mission of Training Champions for Christ.
“Our students help to share our mission around the world, and Fulbright is the international gateway to fulfilling the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20.”
The Fulbright Scholarships & Study Grants program, operated within the Liberty University Helms School of Government, provides current Liberty students with information on and support through the very competitive application and award process.