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Three students and two graduates win national scholarships

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UNG senior Elias Keif from Cumming, Georgia; rising senior JaMia Lawrence from Dacula, Georgia; and rising junior Megan Shockley from Wilmington, Delaware; recently received the Freeman-Asia scholarship.

Three University of North Georgia (UNG) students and two graduates who waited with bated breath for a scholarship to help fund opportunities to study abroad or teach overseas can sigh in relief. All five have been awarded funds for summer and yearlong academic experiences.

UNG senior Elias Keif from Cumming, Georgia; rising senior JaMia Lawrence from Dacula, Georgia; and rising junior Megan Shockley from Wilmington, Delaware; recently received the Freeman-Asia scholarship, which helps U.S.-based undergraduates with demonstrated financial need to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia. The program's goal is to increase the number of U.S. citizens and permanent residents with firsthand exposure to and understanding of Asia and its peoples and cultures.

It isn't the first scholarship for this trio, all of whom are studying in Taiwan this summer. All three received the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship earlier this year. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and implemented by the Institute of International Education, the Gilman program offers scholarships of up to $5,000 to outstanding U.S. undergraduate Pell grant recipients.

Keif is pursuing a degree in East Asian studies with a concentration in Chinese. He said he applied for both scholarships because he did not have the monetary means to travel abroad without it. Lawrence, a cadet pursuing a degree in strategic and security studies, agreed.

"Because of this scholarship I am able to enjoy my time abroad and focus on learning," she said. "I don't have to worry about finances, which is rare for me."

Completing a study abroad is necessary for Keif, Lawrence and Shockley, as it is a requirement of UNG's Chinese Language Flagship program in which all three students are enrolled. Shockley, also a cadet, is pursuing a degree in modern languages with a concentration in Chinese.

Dr. Anastasia Lin, assistant vice president for research and engagement at UNG, credits the Nationally Competitive Scholarships (NCS) office with helping students win scholarships to continue or complete their education at home or abroad.

"We are building a culture of scholarship applications and encouraging students to see it as a long-term process," she said. "We also have an incredibly supportive system and community."

Two UNG graduates who reaped the benefits from the NCS were Lily O'Clery and Kelly Reid.

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Lily O'Clery, who graduated in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in modern languages with a concentration in Chinese, earned a yearlong extension with the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

O'Clery, who graduated in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in modern languages with a concentration in Chinese, earned a yearlong extension with the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

She will spend another year with Fulbright Taiwan as it establishes a new county site in Yunlin. O'Clery will assist in teaching the first-year ETAs how to live in Taiwan and be an effective educator. She will also be responsible for organizing and leading a remote service project during the year.

The Gainesville, Georgia, woman was first selected as an alternate and promoted to finalist for an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) position after graduation last spring. The Fulbright is a prestigious and highly competitive fellowship that enables graduate students to pursue academic endeavors overseas.

Kelly Reid, who graduated in May 2019 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology with a concentration in sports medicine, went from alternate to finalist in the Fulbright Austria program. The Lawrenceville, Georgia, woman will work with the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research for the 2019-20 academic year. She said she plans to take advantage of the opportunity.

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Kelly Reid, who graduated in May 2019 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology with a concentration in sports medicine, went from alternate to finalist in the Fulbright Austria program.

"I can further my education and use different aspects of teaching English, such as communication styles, and transfer it into work I may have in the future with international athletes and to learn the different approaches of sports medicine professionals in other countries," she said.

Students who want to learn more about nationally competitive scholarships should contact ncs@ung.edu for more information. Students interested in study abroad opportunities through various programs may visit UNG's Center for Global Engagement website.

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