A Flowery Branch student has become the first recipient this year of the Fulbright Scholarship from the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus.
Faith Brown was one of eight UNG students — and the only one from Hall County — to be chosen as Fulbright Scholars recently. She will be traveling to Bulgaria in late August and will spend a year there teaching English.
“I feel just really, really accomplished because it’s a nationally competitive scholarship,” Brown said. “It wasn’t just UNG students or Georgia students who applied for this scholarships. It was national.”
Brown, who graduated in December from UNG, said she first became interested in Bulgaria in a history class.
“I’m learning more of the language now and just trying prepare myself for when I go over there,” she said. “When one of my teachers approached me about ... a Fulbright, I learned you get to pick which country (you apply) to. So I said, ‘I want to go ahead and choose Bulgaria.’
Brown earned her degree in communications and has been working in a local store while waiting to see if she won the scholarship. The application process started last July.
After her time in Bulgaria is over, she wants to study communications in graduate school and hopes to eventually work on the university level as a teacher and researcher.
She said she is excited about the opportunity.
“I’m excited about learning about new people and a new country and getting to be a part of an educational exchange program,” Brown said. “It’s such an honor to be selected. The real point of the program is to promote educational exchanges between people of the United States and other nations around the world. I feel honored to being a part of that and I’m really looking forward to sharing my knowledge about the United States of America and the English language, while at the same time learning about Bulgaria and hopefully becoming fluent in the Bulgarian language by the time it’s all over.”
Dr. Anastasia Lin, UNG associate professor of English and assistant dean of student research and scholarship, first approached Brown about applying for the Fulbright and was one of several UNG faculty members who helped and encouraged her in the process.
Lin is also a former Fulbright Scholar, who spent her year abroad in Taiwan.
“Faith is an excellent researcher and communicator,” Lin said. “She’s very curious and she also strikes me as someone who can go into any room and be at home. I felt she would be able the thrive in another culture.”
Lin has been working with potential Fulbright applicants for three years.
“It is a huge deal,” she said. “It’s worldwide recognition. The Fulbright sends students abroad, but it also brings in faculty to the United States. It’s a two-way street.”
The Fulbright Program operates in more than 160 countries. The award includes financial support for round-trip transportation to the host country and funding to cover room, board and incidental costs.
Other Fulbright winners from UNG are: Nicholas Allen, Rachel Bryant, Mitchell Fariss, Darion Gibson, Katie McCullough, Noah McDaniel and Anita Renfroe. Emma Honerbaum and Dezmone Valentine were named as alternates from UNG.