Middle Tennessee State University is soon to be home to yet another Fulbright participant.
Political science major Victoria Grigsby has received one of the most competitive overseas fellowships in the country — the Fulbright Summer Institute in Wales in the United Kingdom.
The purpose of the Fulbright is to increase understanding between U.S. citizens and those from other countries through the exchange of people, knowledge and skills. The grants are designed to give U.S. students the opportunity to live and study in a foreign country.
More than 25 MTSU students have received Fulbright awards since 2008.
“I am very excited and grateful for this opportunity. I believe it will play a huge role in preparing me for a future in political science,” said Grigsby, who is from Taft, Tennessee, and received the honor as a freshman. “I believe my coursework in the Department of Political Science has helped prepare me in understanding the political aspects of the program, which includes the study of nationhood and migration.”
“Students were chosen for this program based on our belief that they will not only gain a great deal from this experience, but equally that they are individuals who have much to offer to the other participants,” said Katharina Becker, Fulbright Summer Institute senior program manager.
“We hope they will view this as an unparalleled opportunity to not only learn and develop new skills, but equally to engage, participate and share their experiences with others,” Becker added. “We are sure that they will enjoy this cultural immersion and go back to the U.S. with even stronger leadership skills, and some new lifelong friends.”
The summer institute takes place from June 30 to July 21 and is hosted by Aberystwyth University, home to a multitude of scholars across several disciplines with expertise in the issues at the heart of the program.
These participants are clustered in an internationally recognized interdisciplinary center of excellence, the Centre for Welsh Politics and Society, which is, in turn, the Aberystwyth hub of the national Welsh Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data.
This year’s theme is “Identity and Nationhood through the lens of Wales”’ at a critical juncture in the politics of Wales, the UK, and wider Europe, according to the program website.
During her time overseas and as part of the Summer Institute, Grigsby will also be able to take part in a service-learning project developed by Aberystwyth alumni. The students will visit the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff and learn about the government of Wales and how it tackles issues highlighted in the program.
“Courses in the Global Studies Department have inspired me to learn about other cultures and serve as an ambassador,” said Grigsby. “I am most looking forward to connecting with Welsh people and learning about their culture from their perspectives.”
In addition to the summer institutes, the Fulbright Commission also coordinates the more widely known Fulbright Scholars program for postgraduate, postdoctoral academics and professionals pursuing study or research and/or teaching at a U.S. or U.K. institution.
Grigsby, who is also minoring in economics and German, is a University Honors College student and an active American Democracy Project member.
Before she heads overseas for the three-week Fulbright cultural and academic program, Grigsby and some of her MTSU peers will be presenting at the 2023 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, May 31-June 2.
Joining Grigsby from MTSU will be Kayla Jenkins of Johnson City, Tennessee; Elaf Alkazzaz and Elliot Certain of Murfreesboro; and Kalea Jackson of Memphis, Tennessee. Their presentation, titled “Inspiring Us, Compelling Us: Historic Tennessee Women’s Stories Push Students to Action,” highlights the 19th Amendment.
MTSU history professor and American Democracy Project advisor Mary Evins, accounting professor Lara Daniel and history professor Amy Sayward, also plan to attend the Boston conference and will be joined by former state Rep. Beth Harwell, MTSU’s Distinguished Visiting Professor in political science.
MTSU’s scholarships are coordinated through the Honors College’s Undergraduate Fellowships Office. Students interested in applying for a Fulbright Scholarship, or other national and international awards, should contact fellowships coordinator Laura Clippard at 615-898-5464 or Laura.Clippard@mtsu.edu.
— Robin E. Lee (Robin.E.Lee@mtsu.edu)
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