The Fulbright Program
Three UNCG students were named Fulbright Scholars through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for 2017-18. Graduate students Nathan Martin, Carmen Calhoun, and Marya Fancey join the select group of UNCG students, scholars, and faculty who have been awarded Fulbright grants, including the late modern dance pioneer and philanthropist Jan Van Dyke. While studying at UNCG, all three of these students received competitive, merit-based scholarships. The financial and academic support from these scholarships, established by generous donors, led to their application and securing a place among the scholars, students, and teachers who participate in this prestigious program every year.
Sponsored by the U.S. government and supported through the American people and international governments and institutions, the Fulbright Program is the flagship international education exchange program. The Fulbright Program is designed to foster mutual understanding between people of the United States and people of other countries through education, research, cultural exchange, and shared concern for global challenges.
The Fulbright Program is part of Senator William Fulbright Jr.’s legacy (photo above). In 1945, the then-freshman senator from Arkansas proposed a bill calling for the use of surplus war property sales proceeds to fund “the promotion of good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture, and science.” Because of the United States’ commitment to post-war leadership development and constructive engagement with other nations, the bill passed the house unanimously and was signed into law in 1946. Since the program’s inception, more than 370,000 students, scholars and educators have been supported in their international endeavors and cultural exchanges in more than 160 countries.
Every year, nearly 8,000 competitive, merit-based grants are awarded to national and foreign undergraduate and graduate students, teachers, scholars, professionals, scientists, artists, writers, and musicians. Fulbright Scholars, or “Fulbrighters,” are awarded grants to pursue their research and passions through applications to specific programs, including the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program, the Fulbright Scholar Program, the Fulbright Specialist Program, and the Fulbright-Hayes Program.
The Fulbright experience has long-reaching, long-lasting effects. Even after returning to their home countries, institutions, and classrooms, Fulbrighters continue to impact local, national, and international communities through sharing their stories and knowledge and engaging in follow-up projects and research, all of which strengthens the academic and cultural relationships they created during their time abroad. Many Fulbrighters go on to leadership positions in non-profits and government offices, while others achieve international recognition. Fifty-seven Fulbright alumni have won Nobel Prizes, 82 have received Pulitzer Prizes and 72 have been named McArthur Foundation Fellows.
Notable Fulbright alumni include:
- John Hope Franklin, noted American historian and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient
- Sylvia Plath, Poet and 1982 Pulitzer Prize recipient in Poetry
- Aaron Copeland, Composer and 1945 Pulitzer Prize recipient in Music
- Gabrielle Giffords, Democratic Congresswoman
Story by Michelle Danner-Groves, Donor Relations