Seven U of A Students Named U.S. Fulbright Finalists

Seven U of A students — four undergraduates, two graduate students and one recent alumnus — were named finalists for 2022-23 Fulbright U.S. Student Program Awards. The seven finalists marks the most U of A students to receive this honor in an academic year since 2015.  

Lillie Haddock of Springdale was named a finalist for a study/research award, while Hannah Allred of Mansfield, Texas; Cate Casey of Rogers; Duru Erkan of Izmir, Turkey; Sol Halle of Buenos Aires, Argentina; Charlie Rodgers of Chesterfield, Missouri; and Lexi Scott of Fayetteville were named finalists for English teaching assistantships. Recipients of the awards are referred to as finalists until all documents for travel have been completed.

Fulbright finalists are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as their records of service and leadership potential in their respective fields. Upon acceptance of their award, each student will become a Fulbright Student and complete the upcoming academic year in their chosen host country.

As the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, the Fulbright is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and those of other countries. The program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the program, which operates in more than 160 countries.

“The Fulbright U.S. Student Program Awards provide amazing opportunities for talented students to conduct research, study or teach abroad,” said Terry Martin, interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “The University of Arkansas Fulbright Finalists chosen this year are stellar examples of the students we have on our campus, who are committed to engaged learning and service. We congratulate them on their successes and wish them well throughout their travels.”

FULBRIGHT 2022-23 FINALISTS

Hannah Allred graduated in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, minoring in anthropology. She is a finalist for an English teaching assistantship in Galicia, Spain.  

On campus, Allred was heavily involved with the Volunteer Action Center, including serving as both a volunteer and chair of the VAC’s Passionate About Literacy Program. Off campus, Allred was a Latino recruitment specialist intern for the Girl Scouts Diamonds in Rogers and a substitute teacher in Fayetteville Public Schools. She plans a career teaching in a bilingual school.

“I am honored to be a Fulbright ETA to Spain next year!” Allred said. “I am where I am today because of incredible professors like Brenda Magnetti, as well as my advisers at the University of Arkansas. I cannot wait to have this experience and bring back all that I learned to the United States!”

Cate Casey is completing a Master of Education in teacher education, focusing in secondary education. Previously, she completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with high distinction in 2021. She is a finalist for an English teaching assistantship to South Korea.

During her educational career, she has been involved with the Future Teachers of English Language Arts organization, as well as the Campus Conversation Club and Student Alumni Board. Most recently she has worked to complete her student teaching internship in the Rogers Public School District. She plans a career as a public school teacher.

“I am honored to have received such an amazing award,” Casey said. “I cannot even begin to express my excitement and appreciation for this opportunity. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I will not be able to take part in the program this year; however, I will remain in the area to begin my career in education. I hope to soon apply for additional opportunities through the Fulbright Program, and I look forward to what my future holds!”

Duru Erkan graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in French and a Bachelor of Science in biology in May 2022. She was an Honors College Fellow and Arkansas Governor’s Distinguished Scholar. Erkan is a finalist for an English teaching assistantship to Belgium. On campus, Erkan was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in 2021, and she was involved in many extracurricular activities, including the International Culture Team, Inspirational Chorale and Honors College Advisory Board. She also volunteered for the Canopy NWA After School Buddy Program, as well as at Washington Regional Medical Center in the Emergency Department. She plans a career as a pediatrician.

“I heard about Fulbright for the first time as a freshman, and I have longed to be a part of the program ever since,” Erkan said. “I am elated to start my journey in Belgium, and I am thankful for the constant support I have received from my mentors, Dr. Peter Ungar and Cynthia Smith, as well as the staff at the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, in helping me obtain my goal. International education is an essential part of academia, and I am proud to participate in a program that brings the world together.” 

Lillie Haddock graduated in May 2022 with a Master of Science in biomedical engineering. She previously received a Bachelor of Science in biological engineering in May 2019. Her graduate research adviser is Brian Haggard, professor of biological engineering.

Haddock is a finalist for a research award to Australia, where she will study policy mechanisms to manage declining water availability in the Murray-Darling River Basin at the University of Melbourne under the supervision of Avril Horne. 

Haddock has been a member of the Graduate Society of Women Engineers, the Distinguished Lectures Committee and Tau Beta Pi. She has presented her work at multiple conferences and is listed as co-author on an article in Global Change Biology. She has also worked at the Arkansas Water Resources Center and interned with Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. Haddock plans a career in global water security. 

“I am thrilled to have been selected for a Fulbright grant to study water markets in Australia and could not have done it without the support of Dr. Brian Haggard, my department,” Haddock said. “Receiving this award is a life-changing opportunity, and I feel honored to be representing the University of Arkansas during my time as a Fulbrighter. I am excited to move to Melbourne and continue my passion for research and international exchange that has been fundamental in my undergraduate and graduate experiences at the University of Arkansas.” 

Sol Halle graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in international and global studies and political science, minoring in French, in May 2022. She is a finalist for an English teaching assistantship in Madrid, Spain. She was involved with National Model United Nations, being named Outstanding Delegate in 2019, as well as Student Congress Debate. In 2021, she was named an En Voz Alta Mentee with the Women’s Action for New Directions organization. Recently, Halle completed a virtual internship with the U.S. Department of State. Halle plans a career in the Foreign Service. 

“As the world continues its ever-accelerated and ever-changing evolution, the frameworks we utilize to understand each other must be just as dynamic, Halle said. “The Fulbright Program is a great culmination of efforts meant to promote this type of understanding. I cannot wait to immerse myself in the Spanish culture while in Madrid and am eager to learn from my host community. Special thanks go to my mentors at the University of Arkansas, including Jared Phillips, Jeffrey Ryan and Xavier Medina Vidal.” 

Charlie Rodgers graduated summa cum laude in December 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science, minoring in psychology. He is a finalist for an English teaching assistantship in the Czech Republic. He served as a research assistant of the Exercise is Medicine Research Group and was awarded a 2021 Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship to support his undergraduate research. He has also served as distribution leader for Razorback Food Recovery, vice chair of Honors College of Education and Health Professions, and vice president of the Pre-Physical Therapy Club. Off campus he interned with Big Brothers Big Sisters NWA and worked as a camp counselor in North Carolina. He plans to pursue a PhD in epidemiology.  

“Recognizing that both my education and career paths do not have to be linear was among the many lessons learned from my senior year,” Rodgers said. “Now that I have been selected for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, I cannot wait for this next step in life. Thanks go to Erin Howie, Merry Hoiseichik, Jean Henry and Michelle Gray, as well as my family. With their encouragement, I’ve grown into the student and learner I am today.” 

Lexi Scott graduated in May 2022 with a B.A.T. in Spanish education, minoring in history. She is a finalist for an English teaching assistantship in Madrid, Spain.  

Scott has a longstanding interest in teaching and tutoring, volunteering to teach adult ESL classes at El Buen Samaritano in Austin, Texas, as well as at a bilingual private school in Honduras. She also worked as a resident facility director and served as a SOAR volunteer, helping Spanish-speakers improve their literacy skills. She plans a career as a Spanish educator, and she wants to help establish more bilingual schools in Arkansas. 

“I am honored to be a finalist for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program,” Scott said. “Improving my linguistic and cultural knowledge in Spain has always been a dream of mine, and I am thankful for this post-graduate opportunity. The University of Arkansas and its brilliant faculty, including mentors such as Freddie Bowles, Steven Bell and Elizabeth Kiszonas, have significantly contributed to my personal and academic growth. I cannot wait to experience Spain and incorporate aspects of Spanish culture into my future Spanish-language classroom!” 

The application for the 2023-24 Fulbright U.S. Student Program is now available at us.fulbrightonline.org. Opportunities are available for graduating seniors, current graduate students and recent alumni of all fields of study.

The campus deadline for U of A applicants is Tuesday, Sept. 13. Jonathan Langley, associate director for the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, serves as the campus’ Fulbright Program adviser and will assist students with the application and campus interview process.

Over 100 U of A students and alumni have been named Fulbright U.S. Student Program Finalists. Students interested in applying to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, or to other prestigious scholarships, should contact the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards at awards@uark.edu or 479-575-2716. 

About the Fulbright Program: Since its establishment in 1946, the Fulbright Program has given more than 390,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals of all backgrounds and fields the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. 

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas’ economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the few U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.

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