WKU English Student Fulbright Winners
What is the Fulbright?
Sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Program is dedicated to building mutual understanding between Americans and people of other countries by promoting intellectual and cultural exchange. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides funding for recent graduates and early-career professionals to undertake graduate study, independent research, or English teaching in schools and universities in approximately 140 countries worldwide.
English students are particularly well-prepared for the Fulbright award. In fact, in the past five years, the Department of English has supplied the second most Fulbright winners at WKU. The following are WKU English graduates who have completed a Fulbright experience in the last 10 years:
English Student Fulbright Winners
- Rachel Hunter is a second-year English major from Owensboro and was one of WKU’s two Fulbright UK Summer Institute participants for 2018. The program is a fully-funded summer study at one of 10 locations in the UK. Rachel studied at the University of Sussex, where she was able to select one of a variety of courses.
- Elizabeth Upshur is an MFA graduate in creative writing. She was awarded a Fulbright to Benin for a project that combines creative nonfiction, poetry, and photography to tell the stories of her maternal genealogy from west Africa to the American continent. Upshur is the first WKU student to receive a Fulbright award for study in sub-Saharan Africa. She has previously conducted research with Dr. Chris Lewis on black women writers and is currently completing her multi-disciplinary MFA thesis under the direction of Drs. Dale Rigby, Cheryl Hopson, and Rebbecca Brown in the Department of English.
Jessica Brumley is a 2015 graduate in English for secondary teachers. She was awarded a Fulbright grant to teach English in Taiwan. She was a recipient of the Cherry Presidential Scholarship in 2011 and a member of the Chinese Language Flagship Program. Brumley studied abroad in China, Taiwan and Cuba while at WKU and earned a State Department-funded Critical Language Scholarship to fund intensive language study in China. She published work in The Ashen Egg and Kentucky English Bulletin, and completed an Honors thesis that included a Mandarin translation of Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.
Jarred Johnson is a 2016 graduate in English and German. He was awarded a Fulbright grant to teach English in Germany. He has interned with the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement in the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., tutored English language learners at Cumberland Trace Elementary in Bowling Green, and spent a semester studying language and fine arts in Berlin. He has been recognized multiple times in writing competitions for his poetry and prose, including a scholarship to participate in the Hindman Settlement School Appalachian writer’s workshop.
Megan Skaggs is a 2016 graduate in English and international affairs. She was awarded a Fulbright grant to teach English in Guatemala for a year. While at WKU, she held a foreign affairs internship with U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office in Washington, D.C., and did legislative research in U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie’s Bowling Green office. She was active in the Student Government Association, Bridges International Ministry and International Justice Mission, and as an HonorsTopper. She was named a Truman Scholarship Finalist in 2015.
- Melissa Smith is a 2016 TESL minor and graduate of the Mahurin Honors College majoring in Asian religions and cultures and Chinese and a 2013 graduate of the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science. She was awarded the Fulbright grant to serve as an English Teaching Assistant in Mongolia. She has built on the language proficiency she has developed in the Department of Modern Languages by active involvement in Project Pengyou, a nonprofit partner of the U.S. State Department that connects alumni of study abroad in China to strengthen people-to-people engagement between the United States and China. In addition, she has served for several semesters as a volunteer tutor for English language learners in after-school programs at Cumberland Trace Elementary School and taught English in Mongolia, China and Thailand.
- Lindsey Houchin is a 2011 WKU graduate in English. She was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Croatia. Houchin went to South Africa as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, studying education at University of Cape Town and teaching English to refugees. Her experience there, as well as work experience in the Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning and the Honors College at WKU, helped her make a strong case for Croatia, where ETAs work with university students on conversational skills but also advise on international educational opportunities.
- Kayla Sweeney is a 2015 graduate in English for secondary teachers and the Honors College at WKU. She was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Malaysia. She developed a strong international perspective at WKU, largely through participation in the International Club and Bridges International. She plans to teach ESL in the United States.
- Rebecca Thieman is a 2014 graduate in psychology and English through the Honors College at WKU. She was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Malta. She was awarded a Fulbright ETA to Malta. Her work with refugees in Bowling Green and across the state helped make her a highly competitive candidate for Malta. Malta is a major hub for incoming refugees to the European Union. She applied for a Fulbright in Malta with the intent of volunteering with people and teaching them life skills and English.
Jennifer Dooper is a 2010 graduate in English and Spanish. She was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Argentina. She expressed Spanish language proficiency, teaching experience, and demonstrated interest in a career in education. Dooper spent one semester as a teaching assistant in the English Department. Dooper's Fulbright experience was in Argentina from March through December of 2011.
Dawn Reinhardt is a 2010 graduate in German and English. She was awarded a Fulbright grant to spend a year in Munich researching sixteenth century German Teufelsbucher, or “Devil Books,” and taking classes at the second largest university in Germany, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Her project explored correlations between the Protestant Reformation and the beginning of the Teufelsbucher genre. She had previously gained international experience through a semester abroad in Regensburg, Germany, with the Kentucky Institute for International Studies.
- Eileen Ryan is a 2010 graduate in journalism and English. She was awarded the Fulbright ETA to teach English in South Korea. Ryan chose to apply to South Korea in part because of it’s innovative tradition of “citizen’s journalism.” Undergraduate Honors Advisor and Assistant Professor of English Walker Rutledge noted that, “A talented and vivacious researcher, writer, and speaker, Ms. Ryan may soon become the most sought-after teacher in South Korea. What good fortune awaits her students!”
Brooke Shafar is a 2008 graduate in English and German. She was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Mainz, Germany. Brooke helped a group of students prepare for an internationally recognized English proficiency exam. At WKU, she completed an original Capstone Experience/Thesis Project through the Honors College, was published in a national literary journal, The Rectangle by Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, and earned WKU’s highest academic honors as Scholar of Potter College. Brooke studied abroad twice during her undergraduate career, once in Munich and then in Berlin.
- Timothy Dail is a 2005 graduate in English Linguistics and German. He was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Stendal, Germany. He studied at the University of Kentucky and the Philipps-University of Marburg in Germany before coming to WKU. After his Fulbright experience, Dail planned to continue his graduate studies in German at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
WKU Fulbright in the Press