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New initiative aims to elevate UT students, faculty internationally

Recent UT graduate Neil Hetrick is currently in Germany helping local English teachers through the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program.

UT faculty member Dr. Ellen Pullins, Schmidt Research Professor of Professional Sales in the UT College of Business and Innovation, is continuing relationships she built as a Fulbright Scholar this past spring in Finland.

And a UT administrator Dr. Sammy Spann, assistant provost for career services, experiential learning and international programs, participated this summer in the Fulbright International Education Administrators seminar in Japan and is now leading an effort to help more people from UT have these experiences.

The new Competitive Awards Initiative — in-line with the president’s stated goal of elevating UT on a national level — aims to assist students, faculty and administrators with applying for these types of prestigious awards that will both enhance the scholar’s education and research, as well as raise the profile of the institution.

“These highly competitive programs promote knowledge sharing and relationship building while giving students unique opportunities to engage in the global community,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “These experiences are an important scholarly advancement for the Fulbright, Marshall or Rhodes Scholar as an individual, but they also elevate the prestige of the University and the positives of the Toledo community.

“Engaging with students, faculty and researchers around the world through these scholarly exchanges will enhance UT when these scholars bring what they learn from their experiences back to campus, but the relationships built during the programs also will promote UT’s reputation internationally and can help recruit faculty and students to come join us in Ohio.”

The Fulbright Program, which is the flagship international educational exchange program of the United States, is one of the primary grants for which the Competitive Awards Initiative will guide UT students through the application process.

“After researching this prestigious program, I was skeptical about my chances of being accepted, but I decided to apply anyways,” said Hetrick, who received his Fulbright U.S. Student Award to Germany during his senior year studying multi-age education at UT. “It was an extremely extended process, with a lot of revisions, preliminary interviews, and then waiting to hear back from the Fulbright Commission. Towards the middle of March, I finally heard that I had been accepted, and I was ecstatic to say the least.”

“I believe that if more people were aware of the exact details and of all the support available to them on campus throughout the application period, more people would apply in the coming years,” he added. “I would love to see several more alumni sent abroad within the next couple years!”

The Fulbright Program, as well as other major scholarship programs such as the Rhodes, Marhall and Truman, requires a university recommendation as part of the application. The Competitive Awards Initiative is now the central resource to provide that recommendation from UT, which also is now part of the National Association of Fellowship Advisers.

In addition to Fulbright, the UT Competitive Awards Initiative is prepared to assist with applications for the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, Boren Scholarship, Gilman Scholarship, Harry S. Truman Scholarships, James Madison Scholarship, Marshall Scholarship, Morris Udall Scholarships, Rhodes Scholarship, Gates Millennium Scholars Program and the National Science Foundation Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Program (S-STEM).

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is UT's Director of University Communications. Contact her at 419.530.2410 or
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