Thirteen NC State students recognized by global and language award organizations

Seven NC State students recently received prestigious national awards to work abroad, study critical languages, and study abroad for summer 2018 and the 2018-19 academic year. Five additional students were alternates for these awards, and one student was a semi-finalist.

Madelyn Afshar, Austin Bryan, and Jayna Lennon were selected as recipients of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant, the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program, and the Boren Scholarship, respectively. Anna Davis, Katherine Stubbs, Cyrus Rad, and Anneliese Vendel were selected as recipients of the summer 2018 Gilman International Scholarship.

Jessica Hatcher and Chloe Shevlin are both Fulbright Program grant Alternates, and Ryan Lenzmeier was a semi-finalist. Kelsie Ballance and Joe Faullin are both CLS Program Alternates. Aalia Shariff is a summer 2018 Gilman Scholarship Alternate.

NC State’s Fellowship Advising Office (FAO) held nomination, or endorsement, processes for the Fulbright Program grant and the Boren Awards. The CLS and the Gilman Scholarship do not require a formal nomination of applicants; however, FAO held several information sessions and writing workshops for these and other externally-funded award opportunities. FAO offers one-on-one comprehensive guidance to NC State students and alums interested in these and dozens of other nationally competitive and fully-funded opportunities.


Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of over 160 countries through Fulbright Program grants to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Grants typically cover full costs, including travel and living expenses and a modest stipend. Finalists who accepted grants this spring will live abroad during the 2018-19 academic year. Alternates for grants may later be selected to receive a grant.

Since 1946, 69 individuals affiliated with NC State have received Fulbright Program grants, including 29 since 2012. This year’s applicants represented several colleges: Engineering, Humanities and Social Sciences, Agriculture and Life Sciences, Textiles, and Sciences.

Click here to see NC State’s 2017-18 Fulbright Program campus selection committee members.

Madelyn Afshar
English Teaching Assistantship (ETA), Tajikistan
Afshar will graduate in May 2018 with degrees in psychology and interdisciplinary studies with minors in Middle East studies and French. She received a fall 2017 Gilman Scholarship to study abroad in Morocco. At NC State she chartered the campus chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, held leadership roles with Dance Marathon, and was a CHASS Ambassador. “I have experience teaching abroad, and my interest in living in a country where they speak Persian (which I have studied at NC State) made [Tajikistan] feel like the perfect fit,” said Afshar.

Jessica Hatcher
Alternate, ETA, Malta
Hatcher is a May 2018 M.A. candidate in English with a sociolinguistics concentration, and she earned her B.A. in English with a minor in linguistics from NC State in 2016. During her graduate studies she has been a lead ambassador for Language Diversity Ambassadors and continued serving in leadership roles with the English Club. She was selected for a 2013 Fulbright UK Summer Institute award in Scotland.

Chloe Shevlin
Alternate, Open Research/Study Grant, MSc at the University of Leicester
Project Title: Providing Accessible Healthcare Services: How NHS Principles Apply to American Healthcare
Country Affiliation: Drs. Natalie Armstrong and Elaine Boyle, University of Leicester; Dr. Tilly Pillay, Neonatal Unit, New Cross Hospital
Shevlin will graduate in May 2018 with a degree in industrial engineering. She has been a group fitness instructor with University Recreation for two years and volunteered with Community Hope and the Boys and Girls Club. She also participated in Women in Science and Engineering and the University Scholars Program.

Ryan Lenzmeier
Semi-Finalist, Open Research/Study Grant, France
Project Title: Le Faux Tabac: Tobacco, Taxation, and Smuggling in Northern France
Country Affiliation: Dr. Laurent Brassart, Universite de Lille-3
Lenzmeier is a May 2018 M.A. candidate in European history. He completed his B.A. in history with a minor in European studies from UNC-Wilmington in 2016. At NC State he played club hockey and served as president of the History Graduate Student Association. He was recently selected for the Teaching Abroad Program in France (TAPIF) and will teach English in France from September to April.

Language-based scholarships
Austin Bryan
Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program: Swahili in Arusha, Tanzania
Bryan will graduate in May 2018 with a degree in Africana studies. He is a Park Scholar and a Caldwell Fellow. At NC State, Bryan served on the Diversity Academy Committee, held several leadership positions with the Technician, and was a DEPTH intern. He was one of five 2017 Truman Scholarship endorsees and received a 2017 FAO Seed Grant for research on sexual and gender minorities in Uganda. Bryan will begin his PhD in cultural anthropology this fall at Northwestern University.

Kelsie Ballance
CLS Program: Alternate, Hindi
Balance is pursuing a M.A. degree in international studies and earned bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and psychology from NC State in 2007. “I studied Nepali language as an undergraduate and want to build on my knowledge of Devanagari script,” said Ballance. “As a part-time graduate student, I am working toward a career in international public administration. My ideal career involves providing project management training and assistance to recipients of international development funds.”

Joe Faullin
CLS Program: Alternate, Indonesian
Faullin is a freshman majoring in economics and came to NC State after spending a gap year in Indonesia as a youth ambassador with Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study. “I see Indonesian language playing a key role in my future career,” said Faullin, “so any chance to learn more is welcomed.”

The CLS Program is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion summer experience for American students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities in diverse disciplines and majors. The program includes intensive instruction for 14 languages and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains. Program participants are encouraged to continue their language study and apply those language skills to their future professional careers

Jayna Lennon
Boren Scholarship: Arabic in Meknes, Morocco
Lennon is a sophomore majoring in both political science and foreign languages and literature. She came to NC State as a Park Scholar and is a CSLEPS volunteer and intern, as well as a Feed the Pack Leader. Lennon will study abroad in spring and summer 2019.

The Boren Awards are an initiative of the National Security Education Program that provide unique funding opportunities for American undergraduate and graduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests. Boren Scholars and Fellows are highly motivated individuals from all majors and disciplines interested in careers with the federal government.

Gilman International Scholarship

Anna Davis: China
Davis is a sophomore majoring in aerospace engineering and minoring in international studies. She is a first generation college student and served as a spring Career Guide after participating in the Career Identity Program her first year. She studied abroad in Poland this fall. “At a young age, I was introduced to the concept of a connected world and the importance of this idea,” said Davis. “Traveling always captivated my attention, but I knew from the beginning that the world is very interrelated and is becoming increasingly more so all the time, which is why having international experience is crucial.”

Cyrus Rad: France
Rad is a freshman majoring in both physics and electrical engineering and minoring in French. At NC State he is a Caldwell Fellow, a member of the University Scholars Program, conducts research, and has played club soccer. “I think it’s amazing how people can communicate in completely different ways,” said Rad. “Learning about different languages and cultures has helped me realize that there are very few cases of ‘right vs. wrong’ in the world; there’s just a lot of ‘different.’”

Katherine Stubbs: Peru
Stubbs is a junior majoring in political science and minoring in Spanish; she is also a Caldwell Fellow. She is the first in her family to travel abroad and recently returned from her second trip abroad with the Semester at Sea program. “Each time I travel, I find novelty in the new cultures that I interact with,” said Stubbs. “Each interaction teaches me that no matter the language barrier, a genuine smile, expressed gratitude, [and] having a kind spirit can communicate more than words can.”

Anneliese Vendel: Japan
Vendel will graduate in August 2018 with a degree in biological engineering and a minor in Japanese. She came to NC State as a Goodnight Scholar and is a first generation college student. Vendel wants to learn how Japanese food sciences and engineering practices can inform American post-harvest and food distribution processes. “I’ve always been interested in studying Japanese, and once I was able to start at NC State I was hooked,” said Vendel. “Learning another language is a great way to learn more about your culture and personal views while also learning about other countries and ways of thinking.”

Aalia Shariff: Alternate, Spain
Shariff is a junior majoring in both biological sciences and biochemistry minoring in Spanish. She is a first-generation American and came to NC State as a Goodnight Scholar; she is also a member of the University Scholars Program. “Applying for the Gilman International Scholarship allowed me to realize my own goals for studying abroad,” said Shariff. “By writing about what I hoped to achieve from this experience, I better understood how becoming fluent in Spanish would contribute to my future career.”

The Gilman Scholarship is a grant program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs that enables American undergraduate students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad. Participants gain an international perspective that helps them both thrive in a global economy and learn skills critical to US national security.

Previous NC State recipients of the Boren Awards, CLS, Fulbright Program grant, and Gilman Scholarship have been recognized for additional national awards, including, but not limited to, the Goldwater Scholarship, the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program grant, and the Udall Scholarship.


About us:

The Fellowship Advising Office (FAO) helps NC State’s undergraduate students, graduate students, and alums learn of and apply for nationally competitive and prestigious awards. These awards fund a wide range of opportunities, and many are connected to undergraduate and graduate degree programs or internships, overseas opportunities, and independent projects.