Two Georgia College graduates land 2020 Fulbright scholarships

Two Georgia College graduates land 2020 Fulbright scholarships

T wo recent graduates—Madison Graham and Amara Tennessee—have been named Fulbright finalists, joining three other Georgia College students to receive the prestigious scholarship in recent years.

One award constitutes the university’s first Fulbright for a music major and the other to a South American country. A third graduate was chosen as a Fulbright alternate.

The awards follow a windfall year for Fulbright applications. More Georgia College students than ever before, 15, applied for the coveted scholarship. Nine were named semi-finalists—another record number for the university, said Anna Whiteside, assistant director of the Honors Program and coordinator of National Scholarships.

All of our candidates this year worked very hard on their applications for this competitive program, and I am very excited that, once again, Georgia College students will be representing the United States in the Fulbright Program.
– Anna Whiteside, coordinator of the National Scholarships Office

Madison Graham
Madison Graham
Music graduate Madison Graham of Louisville, Georgia, will do an English Teaching Assistantship in the Czech Republic. He hopes to volunteer at a Basic Art School there, which is the primary venue for art education in the Czech school system. He also plans to join a Czech performing ensemble and explore the country’s rich culture.

Graham wanted to return to the Czech Republic, after studying abroad there with the Georgia College Jazz Band last summer.

“I had several opportunities to observe parts of the Czech education system,” he said, “particularly the approach to music education. I was impressed by the size of music programs in the country, as well as the depth of knowledge that is taught there.”

As a musician, the opportunity to live in the heart of the Western music tradition is quite exciting.
– Madison Graham
After getting a master’s degree, Graham hopes to work in arts education. The Fulbright will help him with diversity and a global perspective.

“As a musician,” he said, “the opportunity to live in the heart of the Western music tradition is quite exciting.”

Amara Tennessee
Amara Tennessee
Amara Tennessee of Roswell, Georgia, has double degrees in public health and world languages. She’ll do an English Teaching Assistantship in Columbia, hosting a program on health behavior and attitudes. Tennessee double minored in global health studies and Latin American, Caribbean and Latino studies.

After high school, she lived in Paraguay, where she worked as a medical volunteer in a mobile vaccination clinic and cardiology and diabetes specialty center. She sees the Fulbright as an amazing opportunity to travel and share her African-American culture, while learning about Columbia.

I am so incredibly excited to start my journey. I'm excited to have the opportunity to engage in a cultural exchange. Columbia is such a diverse country, not only in their people but also in their geography, and I'm looking forward to being pushed outside of my comfort zone.
– Amara Tennessee

In the future, Tennessee hopes to work in global health, reducing the incidence of chronic disease through health education and programming.

Laura Swarner
Laura Swarner
Laura Swarner of Buford, Georgia, has double degrees in English and theatre. As a Fulbright alternate, she could do an English Teaching Assistantship to Bulgaria, if funding becomes available. She’s passionate about storytelling and plans to use it a tool for language development.

Swarner also hopes to get her master’s in scenic design and work as an artist telling stories that “are important and relevant to the modern world and help shift perspectives.”

Selection for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is rigorous. They receive about 12,000 applications a year. In the U.S., about 1,900 grants are awarded annually in all fields of study in over 140 countries. More than 360,000 Fulbright recipients have participated in the program since its inception in 1946.

Four additional Georgia College students were recipients of the Fulbright in the past 10 years. That includes Lisa Baer to Mongolia in 2012; Audrey Waits to Finland and Kevin Morris to Macedonia in2017; and Janileyiah Thompson to South Korea in 2018.

The Fulbright Scholarship is one of the nation’s most prestigious postgraduate fellowships. The fact that we have semi-finalists in a broad range of disciplines – STEM, social science, humanities and the arts – really shows the degree to which Georgia College prepares our students and graduates to compete on the national stage.
– Anna Whiteside
“The Fulbright Scholarship is one of the nation’s most prestigious postgraduate fellowships,” Whiteside said. “The fact that we have semi-finalists in a broad range of disciplines –STEM, social science, humanities and the arts – really shows the degree to which Georgia College prepares our students and graduates to compete on the national stage.”

In addition to the two Fulbright finalists and alternate—another recent graduate was honored with Germany’s equivalent to the Fulbright. Math and physics graduate Cain Gantt of Johns Creek, Georgia, received a German Academic Exchange Service (DADD) to pursue his graduate degree at the Universität Hamburg.