UNG leads the way with Fulbright Scholars

The University of North Georgia (UNG) has been named the top producer of Fulbright students in its category nationwide with nine Fulbright U.S. Student Program selections for 2023-24. Released by the U.S. Department of State Tuesday, the list showed that UNG was the best among 12 master’s institutions to make the list.  

“The University of North Georgia students and alumni continue to bolster their reputation as trail blazers ready to lead from a global context,” UNG President Michael Shannon said. “The leadership development they receive while at UNG is second to none, and we are grateful to see them using their leadership skills to impact the world.” 

UNG, Emory University and University of Georgia are the only universities in Georgia on this year’s list, which included a total of 170 schools. This is UNG’s seventh year in a row as a Fulbright top producer. 

The Fulbright is “a prestigious, highly competitive fellowship that enables recent graduates and graduate students to pursue research, earn a graduate degree or teach English overseas. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between U.S. citizens and residents of more than 160 foreign countries, according to the Fulbright website. 

2nd Lt. Phillip Ly, a fall 2022 graduate from Forest Park, with a degree in strategic and security studies, is an English teaching assistant in Vietnam for 2023-24. The experience is helping him reconnect with his family’s Vietnamese roots while serving others. 

“I love teaching students here and that I can broaden their global perspective by teaching them English,” Ly said.  

Karen Garcia, a fall 2022 graduate from Clarkesville, with a degree in modern languages with a Spanish language and literature concentration and a minor in Korean, recently arrived in South Korea and is undergoing training before beginning to teach.

“It’s a unique experience and Fulbright Korea provides a great orientation that prepares future English teaching assistants for their year as teachers,” Garcia said. “They also provide a great support system that helps them find a living space and integrate into a new country.” 

While Garcia, Kubas and Ly are 2023-24 Fulbright recipients, this month alumna Kelly Reid begins her third year as a Fulbright English teaching assistant in South Korea. Some students are able to receive Fulbright extensions beyond the usual one year of Fulbright, but her program is one of the few that allows up to three years. Reid, who earned a bachelor’s degree in athletic training in spring 2019, has particularly enjoyed the chance to serve in underserved areas of South Korea.  

“The Fulbright Program helps you expand your horizons while serving others,” Reid said.  

(Picture: L-R: Students Emelia Thompson, Ashley Fish and Karen Garcia who are spending this academic year as English teaching assistants in South Korea through Fulbright.)