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Ten UNG students named Fulbright semifinalists

Fulbright semi-finalists 2017
Anita Renfroe during a study abroad trip to Oman in 2015. Renfroe is one of 10 UNG students to be named a semi-finalist for the 2017 Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Ten students from the University of North Georgia (UNG) have been selected as semifinalists for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, a highly competitive fellowship that enables students to pursue academic endeavors overseas.

"UNG students continue to showcase their academic prowess by being selected for renowned national scholarships," said Dr. Tom Ormond, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at UNG. "The Fulbright Program selects just under 2,000 students across the nation each year, and for 10 of the semifinalists to come from UNG is a remarkable feat."

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 program operates in more than 160 countries, and only 1,900 people in the nation will travel abroad for 10 months of the 2017-18 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. The Fulbright award includes financial support for round-trip transportation to the host country and funding to cover room, board and incidental costs.

The UNG students selected as semifinalists are:

  • Nicholas Allen, modern languages major, English teaching assistant, Senegal
  • Faith Brown, communications major, English teaching assistant, Bulgaria
  • Rachael Bryant, psychology major, English teaching assistant, South Korea
  • Mitchell Fariss, international affairs major, English teaching assistant, Germany
  • Darion Gibson, international affairs major, English teaching assistant, South Korea
  • Emma Honerbaum, history major, English teaching assistant, Germany
  • Katie McCullough, biology major, research, Poland (first research semi-finalist for UNG)
  • Noah McDaniel, modern language major, English teaching assistant, India
  • Anita Renfroe, modern languages major, English teaching assistant, Malaysia
  • Dezmone Valentine, middle grades education major, English teaching assistant, Estonia

Finalists will be announced later in spring 2017.

This past year, UNG alumnus Cody Bijeaux was named a Fulbright finalist his senior year, and is nearing the end of his 10-month stay in Taiwan as a teaching assistant. In 2015, UNG students Jacob Dietrich and Erika Evans were also selected for the Fulbright program — Dietrich studied tourism in Oman and Evans taught English in Russia.

"My Fulbright-sponsored trip officially ended Nov. 4, 2016, but I ended up staying in Oman through the first week of February to serve in a temporary contract with the Omani government," Dietrich said. "During my Fulbright research, I met people in the Omani government who asked me to serve on a new economic diversification taskforce under the Supreme Council for Planning; this task force is working to help Oman broaden its economy past just oil and toward the three key sectors of tourism, manufacturing and logistics. It was amazing getting to work with some of the highest-placed officials in the Omani government and to see how they recognize the Fulbright name. The fellowship has definitely opened some international doors for me."

Dietrich was also selected for the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program, which will cover two years of graduate schooling before he begins working with the U.S. State Department.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 360,000 participants — chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Students, artists and early career professionals in more than 100 fields of study are offered Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants to study, teach English, and conduct research overseas, and more than 800 U.S. scholars and established artists and professionals teach or conduct research overseas through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program annually.

Students interested in learning more about nationally competitive scholarships should contact for more information. Also, students interested in learning about funding and programs to study abroad in a variety of projects can visit the Center for Global Engagement website.

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