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With five recipients, Western Kentucky University among top producers of Fulbright Scholars in nation


Western Kentucky University has again been named a top producer of Fulbright U.S. Students as announced by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Five WKU students received Fulbright awards for academic year 2017-18, placing WKU in a tie for fourth place among master’s institutions nationally. WKU is the only Kentucky institution to make the list, published in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

This is the fourth consecutive year and the fifth time overall that WKU has made the list. The program at WKU is administered by Melinda Grimsley-Smith, Fulbright Program Advisor in the Office of Scholar Development.

WKU’s five Fulbright grantees are:

• Laura Allen, a 2017 graduate in healthcare administration. She is conducting environmental gerontological research with faculty at Windesheim University in Zwolle, Netherlands.

• Alexandra Hezik, a 2017 graduate of the Chinese Flagship Program with a self-designed degree in sustainability. She is conducting permaculture research in Taipei, Taiwan.

• Melissa Smith, a 2016 graduate in Asian religions and cultures and Chinese and a 2013 graduate of The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science. She is teaching English in Mongolia.

• Shelley Spalding, a 2015 graduate in history, Spanish and social studies and a current graduate student in history and secondary education. She is teaching high school students in the Principality of Asturias in Spain.

• Jessica Canada Wellman, a 2016 graduate in management and economics and a current graduate student in applied economics at WKU. She is conducting research on the economic impact of a Free Market Foundation program in Johannesburg, South Africa, that transfers titles of municipal rental housing to low-income residents.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 380,000 participants—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Over 1,900 U.S. students, artists and young professionals in more than 100 different fields of study are offered Fulbright Program grants to study, teach English, and conduct research abroad each year. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program operates in over 140 countries throughout the world.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State, funded by an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and supported in its implementation by the Institute of International Education.

The Fulbright Program also awards grants to U.S. scholars, teachers and faculty to conduct research and teach overseas. In addition, some 4,000 foreign Fulbright students and scholars come to the United States annually to study, lecture, conduct research and teach foreign languages.

For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit eca.state.gov

From Western Kentucky University


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