Four Spartans named Fulbright semifinalists

Posted on February 16, 2021

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The Fellowships Advising and Mentorship (FAM) unit of the UNCG International Programs Center is delighted to announce that of the nine students and recent alumni who applied for the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program, four have been selected as semifinalists.

Students can apply for two types of awards: Open Study/Research Awards or English Teaching Assistant Awards. The Fulbright Open Study/Research Award is the traditional award opportunity where a candidate designs a proposal for a specific country. The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant programs place grantees in schools overseas to supplement local English language instruction and to provide a native speaker presence in classrooms. Recipients receive eight to ten months of funding to complete their award.

After being chosen by the Fulbright U.S. National Screening Committees, the semifinalists’ applications have been passed to the host countries for final selection. They will hear in the coming months whether they receive the award. 

“Congratulations to this outstanding group of scholars who applied for or have been selected as semifinalists for the Fulbright Program,” said Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement Dr. Terri Shelton. “Now in its 75th anniversary, this program provides an invaluable opportunity for you to learn and understand people of other nations and cultures. We understand the effort that the application took and know that you have increased your skills and knowledge in doing so. Participation in this program and UNCG’s International Programs reflects UNCG’s commitment to global connections. As part of our strategic plan, UNCG recognizes the value of individuals, organizations, and geographic and civic entities from around the world connecting with each other. Congratulations again.”

The students spent hours working with Fellowships Advisor Heidi Bretz to craft their essays, polish their applications, and incorporate feedback from faculty mentors. 

“We are very grateful to all the faculty who supported and mentored the students through the application process. We know mentoring is time consuming and labor intensive, but faculty serve as the best role models for students in terms of building skills, and resilience, in fellowship and grant applications,” said Maria Anastasiou, associate provost for international programs. 

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected in an open, merit-based competition that considers leadership potential, academic and/or professional achievement, and record of service.  Fulbright alumni have their careers enriched by joining a network of thousands of esteemed alumni, many of whom are leaders in their fields. Fulbright alumni include 60 Nobel Prize laureates, 88 Pulitzer Prize recipients, and 37 who have served as a head of state or government.

Fulbright Semifinalists, 2021-22 Application Cycle

Colin Cutler*
MA, English and Literature
Class of 2016
Award: English Teaching Assistantship
Country of Application: Romania

“The Fulbright program presents a unique opportunity to be a teacher, to be a learner, and to be an ambassador, all at once. Romania is an especially interesting country to me because it is a crossroads of cultures – Romanian, Roma, Hungarian, German, Turkish, and pockets of others. It has fascinated me since I first stepped foot there with NATO, and that interest has only deepened. Besides the experiences, friendships, and professional relationships I have built in Romania, I have also used that knowledge to build friendships among expatriate Romanians in the UK and U.S.”

*Colin was a Fulbright ETA to Romania in 2019-20, but returned early from his program due to COVID-19.

Caroline Dunmire
MM, Music Theory
Class of 2021
Award: English Teaching Assistantship
Country of Application: Germany

“An English Teaching Assistantship to Germany will fulfill my long-established professional and personal desires to both challenge myself as an educator and immerse myself in the German language and culture. In the years since I dedicated myself to education, I have often been thrown into nerve-wracking teaching situations. Each of these has pushed me to become a better and more compassionate instructor. Leaving the comfort of my home country to teach will certainly fall into this category, but that is intentional. I recognize the value of the unfamiliar and seek to be a teacher who is continually learning.

“I look forward to serving as an American ambassador to Germany and – depending on my placement – perhaps being the only U.S. citizen my students know personally. I know that representing a country so often characterized by political controversy will not always be easy, but I hope to grow through this experience and personalize my students’ perception of what it means to be American.”

Stephanie Hubert
BS, Sign Language Interpreting
Class of 2017
Award: Open Study/Research
Country of Application: United Kingdom

“EUMASLI (European Master in Sign Language Interpreting) is a partnership between three institutions designed to bring top scholars and leaders together with a collaborative, diverse student cohort to challenge and equip the next generation of leaders in the profession of sign language interpreting.

“I hope to bring meaningful change to the dynamic profession of sign language interpreting by working to fill gaps in between pre-service and in-service training, equipping new interpreters through practical means such as structured mentorship, professional development, and proactive mental health services. With greater engagement, resiliency, and retention among interpreters, I believe we will see more individuals empowered to become future leaders and innovators and see positive advances in the field as a result. A degree from EUMASLI is integral in my pursuit of this mission.”

Logan Varker
BA, International and Global Studies/Spanish
Class of 2020
Award: English Teaching Assistantship
Country of Award: Spain

“The outbreak of COVID-19 during my study abroad in Spring of 2020 cut the program in half. Though I studied Spanish at my home university for three years, I felt that I was finally beginning to break the dialect barrier the day that I was ordered back home. I saw that the progress I had made in maturity and language skills in only seven weeks was immense, and I had learned to manage my time and energy in an environment where nothing was intuitive. I see that what is taught in class often pales to what is needed in real life, and the best means of achieving fluency is practical experience. The span of commitment for an ETA would afford me the opportunity to prepare students for that experience and would allow me the time needed to both become deeper integrated into my community and more fluent with Spanish. While other ESL programs would allow me to live and teach in a similar capacity to Fulbright, only this program has an emphasis on cultural ambassadorship and the accompanying academic prestige.”

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to forge lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, counter misunderstandings, and help people and nations work together toward common goals. 

Since its establishment in 1946, the Fulbright Program has enabled more than 390,000 dedicated and accomplished students, scholars, artists, teachers, and professionals of all backgrounds to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and find solutions to shared international concerns. The Fulbright 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 worldwide.

In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Fulbright Program, FAM will be hosting a number of events for students, faculty, and staff this month. Click here to see a full schedule of Fulbright February Events.

Interested in applying for a Fulbright or another nationally or internationally competitive scholarship or fellowship? Contact Fellowships Advisor Heidi Bretz at, or visit for more information.


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