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Five Appalachian students are semi-finalists for Fulbright Scholars program

By University Communications

BOONE, N.C.—The Office of International Education and Development (OIED) announces five out of eight Appalachian students who applied for Fulbright Awards were chosen as semi-finalists for the awards. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers fellowships for U.S. graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to study, conduct research and/or teach English abroad. All of Appalachian’s semi-finalists are students from North Carolina:

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Chris Auber of Oak Ridge, majoring in secondary education
Destination: Czech Republic
Program applied for: English Teaching Assistantship

Porscha Sierra Street Elton of Lake Lure, majoring in higher education, leadership studies
Destination: Rwanda
Program applied for: English Teaching Assistant (Higher Education)

Ryan Hellenbrand of Boone, majoring in sustainable development and global studies
Destination: Austria
Program applied for: Community-Based Combined Grant in Innsbruck

Naula Ndugga of Chapel Hill, majoring in communication, journalism
Program applied for: MA program at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) de Rennes, France

Megan Holt Smith of Mount Airy, a fall 2016 graduate who earned a M.A. in romance languages, Spanish college teaching
Destination: Germany
Program applied for: English Teaching Assistantship

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs recently announced the results of the first phase of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for grants taking place in 2017-18. Final results will be announced between March and May, as the different countries review the semi-finalists’ applications and make their final decisions.

According to Dr. Maria Anastasiou, executive director of OIED, “This is wonderful news. Fulbright is one of the most respected programs in the world for student and scholar international exchange and engagement. On behalf of all the faculty and staff, I congratulate all student applicants whether or not they were chosen to compete in the next step. Fulbright applications require considerable time and effort and completing the process alone is a big achievement. To the five students chosen to move to the next level, I hope you get to receive news very soon of a well-deserved award,” Anastasiou said.

The Fulbright competition at Appalachian is open to all current students and alumni, and is administered by the Office of International Education and Development. Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 360,000 participants – chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential – with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Over 1,900 U.S. students, artists and young professionals in more than 100 different fields of study are offered Fulbright Program grants to study, teach English and conduct research annually in over 140 countries throughout the world. Lists of Fulbright Scholar recipients are available at

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. For more information, visit

About the Office of International Education and Development

The Office of International Education and Development is responsible for spearheading the internationalization efforts at Appalachian. The internationalization mission of Appalachian is to develop awareness, knowledge, appreciation and respect of cultural differences in both domestic and international contexts in its students, faculty, staff and the surrounding communities. The university is also dedicated to creating a campus environment that builds the theoretical and practical skills needed to interact effectively in a global society.

About Appalachian

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.