11 Students Recognized for National Awards

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Eleven Humanities and Social Sciences students recently received or were named finalists for prestigious national awards

Recipients of the various scholarships and grants will teach and/or study critical languages abroad during the coming months. The award winners and finalists were honored by several different programs. 

Fulbright U.S. Student Program 

The Fulbright Program is the nation’s flagship international educational exchange program. Designed to build lasting connections between citizens of the United States and more than 160 countries around the world, the Fulbright Program awards grants for students 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 finalists and alternates from Humanities and Social Sciences are: 

Madelyn Afshar
English Teaching Assistantship, Tajikistan

Madelyn Afshar stands in front of trees.
Madelyn Afshar. (Photo credit: Alsace Gallop)

Afshar graduated this spring with degrees in psychology and interdisciplinary studies, and with minors in Middle East studies and French. She received a fall 2017 Gilman Scholarship to study abroad in Morocco. During her time at NC State, she chartered the campus chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, held leadership roles with Dance Marathon and was a Humanities and Social Sciences Ambassador, among other activities.

“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,” Afshar says.

Jessica Hatcher
Alternate, ETA, Malta

Jessica Hatcher.

Hatcher earned her M.A. in English (sociolinguistics) this spring. During her graduate studies, she has held leadership roles with NC State’s Language Diversity Ambassadors and the English Club.

Hatcher, who also earned her bachelor’s degree in English from NC State,  is a past recipient of a Fulbright UK Summer Institute award in Scotland.

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 (France)

Ryan Lenzmeier in front of a brick wall.
Ryan Lenzmeier. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Lenzmeier)

Lenzmeier earned his master’s degree this spring in European history. At NC State, he played club hockey and served as president of the History Graduate Student Association. He was recently selected for the French Embassy’s Teaching Abroad Program in France (TAPIF) and will teach English in France from September to April.

Boren Scholarship

The National Security Education Program’s Boren Awards 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 various majors and disciplines interested in careers with the federal government.

Jayna Lennon
Boren Scholarship: Arabic in Meknes, Morocco

Jayna Lennon. (Photo credit: Alsace Gallop)

Lennon is a sophomore majoring in political science and foreign languages and literatures. She came to NC State as a Park Scholar and is a volunteer and intern with NC State’s Center for Student Leadership, Ethics and Public Service (CSLEPS). She also works with Feed the Pack: The Food Pantry at NC State. Lennon will study abroad in spring and summer 2019.

Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program

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.

Austin Bryan
Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program: Swahili in Arusha, Tanzania

Austin Bryan stands in front of a wall with an NC State logo
Austin Bryan. (Photo credit: Justin Hammond)

Bryan graduated this spring with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies (Africana Studies). A Park Scholar and Caldwell Fellow, Bryan served on the university’s Diversity Academy Committee, held several leadership positions with the Technician student newspaper, and was an intern with the Diversity Education for our Peers to THrive (DEPTH) program. He was one of five 2017 Truman Scholarship endorsees and received a 2017 Fellowship Advising Office Seed Grant for research on sexual and gender minorities in Uganda. Bryan will begin a doctoral program in cultural anthropology this fall at Northwestern University.

Kelsie Ballance
CLS Program: Alternate, Hindi

Ballance is pursuing a Master of 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,” Ballance says. “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.”

Gilman International Scholarship

The Gilman Scholarship is a grant program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program 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.

Anna Davis: China

Anna Davis. (Photo courtesy of Anna Davis)

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 on campus after participating in the Career Identity Program in 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,” Davis says. “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

Cyrus Rad. (Photo credit: Alsace Gallop)

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 participated in club soccer.

“I think it’s amazing how people can communicate in completely different ways,” Rad says. “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

Katherine Stubbs. (Photo courtesy of Katherine Stubbs)

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 with the Semester at Sea program.

“Each time I travel, I find novelty in the new cultures that I interact with,” Stubbs says. “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

Anneliese Vendel. (Photo courtesy of Anneliese Vendel)

Vendel will graduate this summer 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,” Vendel says. “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

Aalia Shariff. (Photo courtesy of Aalia Shariff)

Shariff is a junior majoring in both biological sciences and biochemistry and 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,” Shariff says. “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.”

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