University of South Carolina

Fulbright winners
From left, Jacqueline Cantwell, faculty advisor Jeff Persels, Payal Patel, Matthew Casedonte, Laura Smentek, Sarah Nell Lader and Christina Galardi. Not pictured are Lauren Anderson, Warren Durrett, Selma Kacapor, Micah Sorum, Ashley Tessarolo and Candace Wiley.

A record year: 12 USC students win Fulbrights

By Megan Sexton, 803-777-1421,

A record 12 Fulbright scholars will represent the University of South Carolina abroad in 2012-13, conducting research, studying and serving as English teachers in countries from Brazil to Russia to Taiwan.

It’s the 12th consecutive year USC students have won Fulbright awards, the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. This year’s class breaks the earlier USC record of nine set in 2008, and brings the total number of USC Fulbright winners to 70 since the establishment of Carolina’s Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs in 1994.

“How gratifying to our faculty, staff, parents, students and alumni that USC has a record-breaking 12 Fulbright scholars for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year. As a former Fulbright researcher, I take great pride in these successful graduates and salute the academic accomplishments, leadership initiatives and community projects that propelled them to the top,” USC President Harris Pastides said. “We’ll be watching with great interest as these USC scholars take their place on the world stage.”

The Carolina students are among the 1,700 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2012-2013 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. The program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. With this goal as a starting point, the Fulbright Program provides participants — chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to study, teach or conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns in more than 155 countries.

Carolina’s Fulbright scholars for the 2012-13 academic year will work and study in Taiwan, France, Russia, China, South Korea, Germany, Brazil and Colombia.

Here are USC’s recipients and their plans for their Fulbright year:

Lauren Anderson of Appleton, Wisc., an international business and marketing graduate of the Darla Moore School of Business, will be an English teaching assistant in Taiwan.

Jacqueline Cantwell of Alpharetta, Ga., a graduate of the South Carolina Honors College, chemistry major and French minor, will research multiferroic materials at the CRISMAT laboratory in Caen, France.

Matthew Casedonte of Anderson, S.C., a graduate of the Honors College with a degree in management and international business and a minor in Russian language and culture, will teach English in Samara, Russia.

Warren Durrett of Aiken, S.C., an international studies major and graduate of the Honors College, will begin work on his dissertation research in China.

Christina Galardi of Lexington, S.C., a public relations major and graduate of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications and the Honors College, will teach English in South Korea.

Selma Kacapor of Fairfax, Va., a global supply chain and operations management and international business major in the Moore School, will spend her Fulbright year in Germany.

Sarah Nell Lader of Aiken, S.C., an experimental psychology and German major in the College of Arts and Sciences and a graduate of the Honors College, will teach in Germany.

Payal Patel of Myrtle Beach, S.C., a public health major and graduate of the Honors College, will teach English in South Korea.

Laura Smentek of Irmo, S.C., an international studies major with a minor in Chinese studies and a graduate of the Honors College, will teach English in Taiwan.

Micah Sorum of Rapid City, S.D., who earned her master’s degree in anthropology, will teach English in Brazil.

Ashley Tessarolo of Cedar Lake, Ind., who earned her master’s degree in linguistics, will teach English in Brazil.

Candace Wiley of York, S.C., who is working on her master of fine arts degree in creative writing, will collect narratives from residents of Palenque, Colombia, as the basis of a creative prose and poetry project.

Jeff Persels, professor of languages, literatures and cultures and chair of European studies, and Margaret Perkins, retired fellowship coordinator in the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs (, served as the University’s Fulbright Program advisors.

News and Internal Communications

Posted: 06/01/12 @ 10:00 AM | Updated: 06/16/12 @ 9:30 AM | Permalink



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