For the 17th consecutive year, the University of South Carolina will be represented abroad next year by Fulbright US Student grantees conducting research, studying, and serving as English Teaching Assistants. This year our five Fulbright Finalists (those offered the Fulbright Student Grant) are James Anderson, Kara Jones, Rebecca Schick, Himabindu Vinnakota, and William Welsh. Two other USC applicants, Tori Bennett and Ashley White, have been named Alternates.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation by the United States Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support.
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. Each year, over 1,900 US students, artists, and young professionals in more than 100 fields of study are offered grants to study, teach English, and conduct research in over 160 countries worldwide.
In the United States, the Institute of International Education supports the implementation of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program on behalf of the U.S. Department of State, including conducting an annual competition for the scholarships.
Dr. Kara Brown, Associate Professor of Educational Studies, Dr. Yvonne Ivory, Associate Professor of German and Comparative Literature, Prof. Laura Kissel, Director and Professor, School of Visual Art and Design, Dr. Jeff Persels, Associate Professor of French, and Dr. Myriam Torres, Clinical Associate Professor in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, served as the University’s Fulbright Program Advisors this past year. They worked closely with many of this year’s pool of candidates as they crafted their winning applications. More than 30 other faculty members assisted in interviewing applicants as part of the campus evaluation process.
Anderson earned his B.A. (cum laude) in Political Science from the University of South Carolina in 2015. He attended Carolina on the G.I. Bill after serving on active duty in the United States Air Force. During his time at Carolina, he was a member of the Air Force ROTC program and Euphradian Society. Upon graduation, James was responsible for the creation of the My Carolina Veterans Alumni Council, an organization that unites and inspires USC’s veteran alumni to draw on their service-minded talents to make a meaningful impact on veteran causes and to their alma mater. James was listed on the SC Black Pages Top 20 Under 40 list in 2016 for his efforts. Moreover, he holds a M.A. in International Relations from American University. James is currently a fellow with the Truman Defense Council and Veterans in Global Leadership. He will spend one year in Canada working on a M.A. in Political Studies at Queen's University focusing at the intersection of Canadian strategic culture and Canadian-American defense relations. Additionally, he will conduct research as a graduate Defence Fellow with the Center for International Defence and Policy.
Bennett graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2017 with majors in International Studies and Spanish and with Leadership Distinction in Professional and Civic Engagement. A Capstone Scholar, Tori was also the recipient of the Jessica Horton Outstanding New Student Leader Award. At USC, she was actively involved on campus with a position on the Freshman Council for Student Government and as an academic tutor at the Dodie Academic Enrichment Center. Tori was also involved with an English as a Second Language Program for Syrian Refugees. Bennett aims to pursue a career in International Education involving community development through education. She is an Alternate for an English Teaching Assistantship to Argentina.
Jones is a 2018 graduate of the South Carolina Honors College, where she majored in International Business and Business Economics and minored in French. She a Lieber, Cooper, and National Achievement Scholar, as well as a recipient of the Darla Moore Dean’s Award for Undergraduate Acheivement, USC’s Outstanding Senior Award, the Zonta Club of Charleston’s Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship, and the SCHC Beyond the Classroom Internship Award for her work at the SC Department of Commerce. Active both on and off campus, she served as the Administration Officer for the Honors Ambassador Program, a peer leader for international students, a tutor with the Waverly After School Program, and a member of the First College Ministry at First Baptist Church Columbia. Jones is a published author and plans to publish her senior thesis Blue Eyes. She hopes to work in economic development, improving others’ quality of life by increasing economic activity and opportunity. Her Fulbright year will be spent as an English Teaching Assistant in Andorra.
Schick is a 2016 graduate from the Darla Moore School of Business where she majored in Finance and minored in Portuguese and Spanish. During her time at USC, Rebecca founded YU.N.US, a student organization that raised awareness about sustainable impact and invested microloans through Kiva International. Rebecca was named a Magellan Scholar and conducted research in Nicaragua as a Field Consultant for a social enterprise in 2015. She currently works as an Executive Assistant and Analyst at a venture capital firm in Charleston, SC. Her Fulbright year will be spent in Mexico City, as part of the Binational Internship Program offered by COMEXUS.
Vinnakota is a 2018 graduate of the South Carolina Honors College, where she majored in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The William H. and Ruth C. Bond Carolina Scholar, she is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa and a recipient of the Caroliniana Award. She served as a volunteer advocate at Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands, and both President and Director with the Off Off Broadway student organization. Vinnakota plans to become a physician, and will spend her Fulbright year as an English Teaching Assistant in Malaysia.
Welsh is a 2017 graduate of the South Carolina Honors College, where he received his degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. At USC, he conducted research in tissue engineering and cancer genetics, spent time abroad in South Korea and Turkey, and was awarded a Critical Language Scholarship to study Farsi in Tajikistan. Welsh’s Fulbright Grant will fund a Master’s Degree in Biomedicine at the University of Eastern Finland, which he will use to pursue a career in gene and stem cell therapy research.
White is a 2011 graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Public Health. She received the Hadden Scholarship from the Youth Foundation in 2007, and the 2011 Walsh Leadership Fellowship Award at Johns Hopkins. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Health Promotion, Education and Behavior at USC. Her research focuses on sexual and reproductive health in the United States and abroad, with a focus on access and use of contraceptives, including long acting reversible contraceptives. She is an Arnold School of Public Health Doctoral Fellow, as well as a member of the Carolina Consortium for Health, Inequalities, and Populations and the Global Health Research Group. She also serves as the Student Liaison for the Sexual and Reproductive Health Section of the American Public Health Association. White is Fulbright Alternate hoping to pursue her research in Samoa.
These students and others seeking national fellowships were assisted by the Office of Fellowships & Scholar Programs. For more information about the Fulbright US Student Program or other national competitions, contact the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs at 777-0958, or visit us online at www.sc.edu/ofsp.