UNC Among Schools With Most Student Fulbrights

Carolina is tied for 10th among top research universities in the number of students and recent graduates receiving Fulbright grants.

With 15 students teaching, conducting research and studying abroad this year on Fulbright U.S. Student Program Grants, Carolina tied with the universities of Rutgers at New Brunswick and Washington. UNC tied for fourth among public institutions, again, with Rutgers and Washington. The figures apply to the current academic year, 2010-11, and are compiled by the Institute of International Education.

Administered at UNC by the Center for Global Initiatives, the Fulbright program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and those of other countries.

An annual appropriation by Congress to the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is the main funding source for the program.

“These impressive students rose to the top through three rounds of application review,” said Tripp Tuttle ’05, UNC’s Fulbright program adviser. “They are conducting research, taking courses or serving as English teaching assistants in one of the more than 150 countries where grants are offered.”

Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education and athletics. Forty Fulbright alumni from 11 countries have been awarded the Nobel Prize, and 75 alumni have received Pulitzer Prizes.

Prominent Fulbright alumni include Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize; John Atta Mills, president of Ghana; Lee Evans, Olympic Gold Medalist; Ruth Simmons, president of Brown University; and Renee Fleming, soprano.

The 2010-11 student Fulbright recipients and their current activities abroad are listed below in alphabetical order by N.C. town and by state for out-of-state students.

North Carolina


  • Melissa Asmar ’10, who majored in nutrition at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. She is teaching English in Germany and studying German nutritional status and dietary habits. She hopes to become a professor in biochemistry or biomedicine, with an emphasis on nutrition.

Chapel Hill

  • Erin Shigekawa ’10, who majored in health policy and management at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. She is studying whether a relationship exists between socioeconomic status and obesity in patients with chronic kidney disease in Taiwan.
  • Patrick Tobin ’09 (MA), a doctoral candidate in history at UNC, who is in Germany researching how people interpreted and responded to the chaos of postwar West Germany amid the government’s attempts to reorder society.


  • Rebecca Ruck ’10, who majored in global studies. She is teaching English in Moldova and seeking to bridge cultural and language barriers between Moldovans and Americans by teaching about American culture, language and history.


  • Carolyn Moore ’10, who majored in journalism and mass communication. She is teaching English in Argentina and observing how effectively health information is shared with young adults and adolescents, particularly regarding sexual practices and nutrition.


  • Robert Hrozencik ’10, who majored in economics. He is teaching English in Egypt while studying modern Arabic and the Egyptian dialect.


  • Jacqueline Knee ’08 (’10 MSPH), who majored in public health and this year completed her master’s degree in environmental sciences and engineering at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. She is examining physical and sanitary conditions of rainwater harvesting systems and use practices in rural communities in Thailand that depend on rainwater for drinking and household use.

Whispering Pines

  • Kurt Davies ’10, who majored in linguistics and anthropology. He is studying implementation and attitudes toward language policies in the Kyrgyzstan educational system.

Out of State

  • Sabrina Boyce ’10 (MPH) of Fair Oaks, Calif., who is conducting a study in Leon, Nicaragua, seeking to illuminate the influence of gender roles on contraceptive decision-making and reveal communication patterns that encourage or discourage contraception use.
  • John Robertson ’09 (MA) of Fort Collins, Colo., a doctoral candidate in history at UNC. He is studing industrial mobilization, labor resistance and their cultural legacies in the former Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic, focusing on the industrial labor force in the coal district from World War I to Czechoslovakia’s early years.
  • Caroline Wisler ’10 (MA), of Rockford, Ill., a doctoral candidate in anthropology at UNC. She is teaching English in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where English is considered a language of neutrality, equality and collaboration. She is focusing on communities experiencing adverse conditions to fulfill her main goal of post-conflict rehabilitation of cultural resources.
  • Nicholas Swisher ’10 of Nicholasville, Ky., who majored in chemistry. He is conducting research at the Institute for Organic Chemistry at Aachen University in Germany and will focus on the possibility of using iron and copper salts as catalysts in organic synthesis, with the intention of making the process cheaper and more accessible.
  • Stephanie Van Sant ’10 of Webster Groves, Mo., who majored in global studies and German. She is teaching English in Germany and working to improve her German language skills. She hopes for a career teaching German.
  • Annelies Goger of Asbury, N.J., a doctoral candidate in geography. She is studying ethics in the Sri Lankan garment industry by surveying academic, business and political officials, as well as at factories, about factory characteristics and ethical initiatives.
  • Ivo Dimitrov of Beaverton, Ore., a master’s degree candidate in political science. He is in the European Union studying conditions that allowed Spain to remove fascism from its political structure and society while Bulgaria still struggles with its transition from communism to democracy.

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