17 UT students receive Fulbright scholarships for second consecutive year

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Seventeen University of Tennessee students will join more than 2,100 U.S. students in study, research and teaching across the globe for the 2020-21 academic year as a part of the Fulbright US Student Program.

Tennessee leads its Southeastern Conference peers in Fulbright scholars for a second consecutive year, matching its total from 2019-20, and is seventh in the nation among public research universities. An additional four alternate students have been chosen for the program as well.

“Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement and their record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields,” a release from UT states.

“UT’s continued success as a top producer of Fulbright students demonstrates the deep talent, curiosity, and dedication of our students, and we could not be prouder of their accomplishments,” Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor David Manderscheid said. “I’m especially thrilled for these scholars, who pursued their interests, took advantage of the opportunities before them, and put in the hard work. We are honored to have them represent UT around the world.”

UT students and recent graduates who were offered 2020–21 Fulbright Student awards include:

  • Caroline Begley, of Knoxville, is a May 2020 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in child and family studies. Begley will be going to Taiwan on an English teaching assistantship.
  • Dara Carney-Nedelman, of Erwin, earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies in May 2019. Carney-Nedelman was awarded an English teaching assistantship in Indonesia. Her placement was canceled due to COVID-19, but she will be eligible to be considered for alternative locations.
  • Alyssa Culp, of Merritt Island, Florida, is a doctoral candidate studying history. Culp will be going to Germany on a research grant to study the impact of medical and state intervention on German culture and identity.
  • Audrey Jean “AJ” Culpepper, of Knoxville, is a May 2020 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in modern foreign languages and literatures with a concentration in Russian studies. She will be going to Russia on a research grant to study the works of Aleksey Nikolaevich Tolstoy.
  • Geghie Alayna Davis, of Maynardville, is a May 2020 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and a minor in entrepreneurship. Davis received a research grant to study at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom and pursue her Master of Arts in design.
  • Amanda Gann, of Pegram, Tennessee, completed her bachelor’s degree in architecture in 2012 and graduated in 2014 with a Master of Architecture. Gann received a research grant and will be going to India to work alongside urban ecologists and examine the ecological, economic, and sociocultural roles of natural systems in the development of urban landscapes.
  • Julia Goncalves, of Cleveland, is a May 2020 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in modern foreign languages and literatures. She had a double major in German language and literature and Russian studies with a minor in sociology. Goncalves will be going to Germany on an English teaching assistantship.
  • Anastasia Koumtcheva, of Nashville, graduated in December 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a minor in architectural design studies. Koumtcheva will be going to Bulgaria on a research grant to study how historical design and building practices can inform the modern housing industry’s response to climate change.
  • Brooks Leftwich, of Lewisburg, Tennessee, is a May 2020 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in honors mechanical engineering and a minor in reliability and maintainability engineering. Leftwich will be going to Taiwan on an English teaching assistantship.
  • Michael Lidwin, of Chantilly, Virginia, is a May 2020 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in architecture and Italian. Lidwin, a Haslam Scholar, will be going to Italy on a research grant to investigate the effect of temporary exhibitions on Milan’s urban fabric, specifically as it relates to new developments and neglected housing projects.
  • McNeeley Moore, of Knoxville, is a May 2020 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in honors English literature and a minor in English as a second language education. Moore will be going to Romania on an English teaching assistantship,
  • Aleksandra “Ola” Noras, of Charlotte, North Carolina, is a May 2020 graduate with a master’s degree in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology. Noras has received a research grant to visit Poland. She plans to research the adaptation of barley to heat and drought stress using the CRISPR gene editing system.
  • Shannon Perrone, of San Diego, is a May 2020 graduate with a bachelor’s degree, who double majored in language and world business with a concentration in Hispanic studies and global studies. Perrone will be going to Brazil on an English teaching assistantship.
  • Kristi Phillips, of Knoxville, is a May 2020 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in modern foreign languages and literatures, who majored in language and world business with a concentration in Russian studies and a minor in information studies and technology. Phillips with be going to Belarus on an English teaching assistantship.
  • Jaime Ragos, of Knoxville, graduated in May 2019 with two bachelor’s degrees and triple majored in food science and technology; language and world business; and Latin American and Caribbean studies. Ragos will be going to Taiwan on an English teaching assistantship.
  • Shannon Warren, of Waverly, is a master’s student studying secondary English education and English as a second language education. Warren, who received her bachelor’s degree in English literature in 2019, will be going to Brazil on an English teaching assistantship.
  • Jackson Wilt, of Goodlettsville, is a May 2020 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in honors mechanical engineering. Wilt will be going to the Netherlands on a research grant to study 3D-printed soft devices for medical purposes, specifically for artificial hearts.

The four students designated alternates may receive awards if placements open up in the coming months. UT had 67 student candidates apply for Fulbrights and 44 semifinalists.

“To have become a consistent top producer of Fulbrighters is a terrific national distinction for UT, but what especially comes to mind right now is the inspiring commitment and desire each one of these scholars has shown to learn, to explore, and to do good in the world,” Andrew Seidler, director of UT’s Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships, said.

UT students and recent graduates interested in the Fulbright and other nationally competitive awards can visit the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships Fulbright page to learn more about the application process.

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