Ball State students win prestigious Fulbright, Udall awards

Topics: College of Architecture and Planning, Scholarships, College of Sciences and Humanities

May 21, 2010

Four Ball State University students — a record number for Ball State in a single year — have been awarded Fulbright scholarships for 2010-11, while another student has won the prestigious Udall Scholarship.

"The quality of Ball State student applicants this year was spectacular," said Dom Caristi, Fulbright program adviser for the university. "Despite an ever-increasing number of applicants nationwide, having four Fulbright winners makes this the largest number ever for the university. It's a testament to the quality of the students, their diligence and preparation."

Stephen Jones, a doctoral candidate in English literature, has been awarded a full Fulbright grant to the United Kingdom, the most competitive of all Student Fulbright Grant programs.

Jones will use the Fulbright to study the correspondence of two 20th-century authors, letters that are held in the archives at the National Library of Wales.  This research is part of his dissertation on the role of Wales in the British Empire in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Graduates Katherine Kovac and Erin Loch have received Fulbright English teaching assistantships to Germany, where they will teach English as a second language to middle school or high school students. Kovac also plans to develop an American literature book club at her school, and Loch will offer tutoring services and conversation sessions that allow students to practice English skills.

Staci Defibaugh, who has just completed a master of arts in linguistics/TESOL, has received an English teaching assistantship in Romania, where she will teach English as a second language at a university and an educational advising center. Defibaugh will also create a bilingual craft circle, focusing on traditional Romanian embroidery and weaving.

The Fulbright program is sponsored by the U.S. State Department and is intended to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and those of more than 150 countries. This year, the department gave approximately 1,500 awards to U.S. students and recent graduates.

In addition to the students' Fulbright awards, current senior Abigail Shemoel is one of 80 students nationwide to receive a 2010 Udall Scholarship.  The scholarship is considered the most prestigious in the nation for undergraduates committed to environmental careers and/or to Native American tribal issues.

Shemoel is a landscape architecture major with a minor in international resource management.  She intends to pursue her master's degree in global affairs in preparation for a career addressing environmental and humanitarian challenges shared by communities worldwide.

She is the fifth Ball State University student — and the fourth landscape architecture major — to win the Udall Scholarship since 2005. In addition to the Udall, Shemoel also received a scholarship from the National Garden Clubs. She is one of only 34 students nationwide to receive the scholarship.

By Chanel Richards

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