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National Fellowships and Scholar Programs

University of South Carolina Announces Six Fullbright Grant Winners

For the 14th consecutive year, the University of South Carolina will be represented abroad by Fulbright Scholars conducting research, studying, and serving as English Teaching Assistants. This year our four Fulbright recipients are Kara Brown, Rachel Harrison, Tyler Johnson, and Andrew Kovtun, while Stephanie Berger and Timothy Hall have been named alternates. These students are among the 1,900 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2015-2016 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Since 1983, USC has had 94 Fulbright student scholars in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, conducting research, studying in graduate programs and teaching English in K-college settings.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and 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 over 160 countries.

The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Fulbright recipients are among over 50,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education. Fulbright scholars at the University this past academic year represented a variety of countries, including Nigeria, Thailand, and the UK.

Dr. Jeff Persels, Associate Professor of Languages, Literatures and Cultures and Director of European Studies, Dr. Kara Brown, Associate Professor of Educational Studies, and Dr. Yvonne Ivory, Associate Professor of Languages, Literatures and Cultures and German Program Director, served as the University's Fulbright Program Advisors this past year. They worked closely with many of this year's pool of candidates as they crafted their winning applications. Over 30 other faculty members assisted in interviewing applicants as part of the campus evaluation process.

Brown is a 2015 graduate of the University of South Carolina with a major in Anthropology and German. She will be teaching English in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt during the 2015-2016 academic year.

Harrison is a 2015 graduate of the South Carolina Honors College with a degree in Russian, Spanish, and Comparative Literature. A Palmetto Fellows Scholar, Harrison has spent time abroad in Ufa and Murom, Russia and will be completing her English Teaching Assistantship in Russia during the 2015-2016 academic year.

Johnson is a 2015 graduate of the University of South Carolina where he majored in Religious Studies with an emphasis in Oriental religions and philosophies and minored in Chinese Studies. In his studies, Johnson is interested in the future reception of classical Chinese thought worldwide. His article, entitled Peaceful-Easy Wandering: Reflections on Contemporary Discussions Concerning the 'Zhuangzi''s Ethical Idea, will be published in the upcoming Caravel Undergraduate Research Journal. Johnson is also an amateur musician. He will spend his Fulbright year teaching English in Taiwan and upon his return hopes to teach English as a second language.

Kovtun graduated in 2015 from the South Carolina Honors College with a degree in International Business, Economics, and Marketing. Kovtun was the recipient of a McNair Scholarship, Lieber Scholarship, Humanity in Action fellowship, Pamela Harriman Foreign Service fellowship, and Birthright Israel Excel fellowship. Kovtun was also named a Truman Scholar finalist, an alternate for the Boren Scholarship, a Magellan Scholar, and Passport Travel grant recipient. He was one of only two students selected to be part of the inaugural class for the Darla Moore School of Business International Business-Oxford Scholar Program this past spring semester. While on campus, Kovtun hosted several shows on WUSC FM, was a viewpoints staff writer for the daily Gamecock, served as the Business Senator for Student Government, and was the Defense and Diplomacy chair for the Roosevelt Institute. Kovtun plans a career in international trade diplomacy.

Berger is a 2015 graduate of the University of South Carolina, with majors in International Business, Economics, and Global Supply Chain Management and minors in Russian and Eurasian Studies. While at USC, she was a Capstone Scholar, a member of the cross country and track and field teams, and co-president of the International Business Student Advisory Council. She served as an intern with the US Commercial Service at the US Consulate General's Office in Istanbul, Turkey and with US Export Assistance Centers in Ohio and South Carolina. Berger has been named an alternate to Mexico.

Hall is a 2015 graduate of the School of Music, with a major in classical guitar performance. He is a member of Delta Epsilon Iota, Pi Gamma Mu, Phi Beta Delta Honor Society, and Golden Key International Honor Society. He was also the recipient of a Guitar Performance Scholarship. While at USC, Hall tutored in music theory, aural skills, and history and was a member of the USC guitar quartet. He also taught guitar, mandolin, and ukulele lessons with Columbia Arts Academy and lead music at Keenan Chapel of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. Hall has been named an alternate to Romania.

These students and others seeking national fellowships were assisted by the Office of Fellowships & Scholar Programs. For more information about the Fulbright Program, contact the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs at 803-777-0958, or visit us online at


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