Six Liberty students head to the semi-finalist round for the Fulbright US student grant program

The future is looking bright for six Liberty students who are semi-finalists in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

These students submitted essays, letters of recommendation and applications for the chance to receive a grant to study and teach abroad in the country and job of their choosing. 

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides an opportunity for students to travel to various countries around the world to enhance their learning and study their desired topics.

Alex Donley and Melissa Hosek both applied with the hopes of receiving a grant and will find out between March and May if they will receive it. 

Donley hopes to teach in Malaysia and Hosek hopes to teach
in Taiwan. 

If accepted for the grant, Fulbright students get to live, work, meet and learn from the people in their host country, sharing
daily experiences. 

“The program facilitates cultural exchange through direct interaction on an individual basis in the classroom, field, home, and in routine tasks, allowing the grantee to gain an appreciation of others’ viewpoints and beliefs, the way they do things, and the way they think,” the program’s
website explains. 

Donley found out about the program through a class presentation and decided to apply his junior year. He hopes to teach English as a second language in Malaysia. The idea of educating people in innovative ways excites him.

“I would like to be sort of the Bill Nye of English teachers in the long term,” Donley said.

The most difficult part of the application process, he said, were the two one-page applications he had to submit. Though short, they have to be near perfection, Donley said. However, he had Professor Edna Udobong by his side consistently to help with revisions and remove writer’s block.

Udobong, Liberty’s Fulbright Program advisor and school liaison, set up a Blackboard course for applying students to help them through the process. This helped Hosek greatly when she applied. 

Hosek became interested in the Fulbright Program when a professor in the School of Education encouraged her to apply. 

“Going into this I thought I wasn’t smart enough,” Hosek said. “I thought (other applicants would) have more experience, and they have so many people that apply and don’t get it. I didn’t want to do it. It was going to be one more thing added to my plate. Professor (Lucinda) Spaulding said, ‘No pressure, but if you have more time you should do it.’ Because I love Dr. Spaulding, I did it and it
was great.”

She expected a decline, but said she was shocked and excited to find out she was a semi-finalist.

If accepted, Hosek will be assisting a teacher in Taiwan or teaching her own classroom, teaching English through the lens of
American culture.

“We don’t really say ‘Hello, how are you?’ We say more of ‘Hey what’s up?’ I would teach more of the cultural value,” Hosek said. 

Donley said he encourages students to apply and to take the risk.

“Don’t underestimate your experience,” Donley said. “My professors helped me realize how qualified I was. Look for as unique an opportunity as you can.”

More than 2,200 students and 900 U.S. colleges, university faculty and administrators receive Fulbright awards every year. You can read more on their webste at 

Slaughter is a news reporter. Follow her on Twitter.

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