May 2024: Three Ball State students and two recent graduates—Julia Canty, Katelyn Redman, Haley Stevens, Jayana Fennell, and Cady Garcia—will be spending the coming academic year abroad, as recipients of Fulbright U.S. Student Awards! All have been selected for English Teaching Assistantships (ETAs), to help students in their host countries develop English language skills and to serve as cultural ambassadors between nations. Two other graduating seniors—Denver Hammons and Makayla Schuelke—are currently alternates for ETA positions.


Julia Canty
, an Honors College student who is graduating with a major in economics and minors in Chinese and international studies, will be an ETA in Taiwan for 11 months. There, in addition to helping children or adolescents develop their skills in English, she’s eager to support young women in her host community through tutoring, club activities, and other forms of mentorship.

Julia’s many leadership activities at Ball State have included her presidency of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and vice presidency of the Chinese Club. In the community, she has been a regular English teaching volunteer for Afghan refugee children, and last summer she was a research intern for the US-Taiwan Business Council in Washington, DC.

“The Fulbright Award will act as a catalyst for the achievement of my long-term goals,” said Julia, who is from West Bloomfield, Mich. “I am passionate about using my position as a young American to share my culture
 and, more importantly, to learn from others across the world. With this experience, I hope to pursue a career in global economic policy development, with a focus on U.S. and Indo-Pacific relations.”

Jayana Fennell, a May 2023 graduate with a major in telecommunications (digital production video concentration) and minors in French and American Sign Language, will be an ETA in France, where she’ll help teach English to high school students and also help advise French students on studying in the U.S., through EducationUSA, a State Department initiative. In her spare time, she wants to volunteer her videography and photography skills with a nonprofit organization in France, as she has done with her communities in the U.S..

Jayana’s long-term career goal is to become video production teacher, at either the high school or college level, sharing her cross-cultural knowledge and experience with her future students.

“As an African American woman and as someone who has been exposed to a broad range of cultural backgrounds in the U.S., I believe I can provide a distinct perspective on American culture while in France,” said the Bloomington, Ill., native. “I want to fully understand French culture while teaching young minds about the United States, drawing upon the perspectives that I have developed over the years” and “helping students achieve their personal, educational, and professional goals.”

Cady Garcia completed a bachelor’s degree in 2022, with a major in history and minor in psychology of human development, followed by a master’s degree in secondary education in December 2023. She has been awarded a Fulbright ETA position in Poland, where she will help teach English at the university level. Building upon her love of U.S. history and experience teaching in Indiana schools, she also plans to create a "History through the Decades'' club that will allow her students to explore current events, pop culture, sports, and cuisine in the U.S. and Poland.

“Fulbright in Poland is going to be an amazing experience because I will have the opportunity to work with highly respected educators, while immersing myself in their beautiful country and culture,” said Cady. “I will also get the chance to connect with my family heritage. Fulbright is opening doors that will challenge me and help me thrive as an educator, scholar, and person. I couldn’t be more thankful.”

After returning to the U.S., Cady, who is from Versailles, Ind., plans to teach social studies or history in a middle or high school.

Katelyn Redman, who is graduating with a major in German education and minors in history and linguistic & global communication, has been awarded an ETA position in Germany, where she expects to work with high school students. In her spare time she wants to take German language courses at a local university and also become involved with (or create) a small coffee hour group through the Germany’s “Kaffeekultur.”

The Avon, Ind., resident studied in Germany for five months last year and looks forward to expanding her knowledge of language learning pedagogy in Germany even further. “After my Fulbright experience, I intend to bring ideas back to the U.S. for the future of secondary education generally and for improvement in foreign language education that will better reflect and prepare students for our globalized world,” she said.

After completing her year with Fulbright, Katelyn wants to enter a master’s degree program in Germany, then teach in either the U.S. or Germany. Through both the Fulbright ETA program and in her career, she said, “I look forward to supporting students and sharing my love of language.”

Haley Stevens, who is completing an M.A. in English, with a creative writing concentration, will be an English Teaching Assistant at a university in Romania. Outside of the classroom, she plans to pursue independent creative writing and research on Jewish history, myth, and folklore. She also wants to develop a creative writing program in English for Romanian writers interested in writing in or translating their work into English.

Haley, who was born in Green Bay and raised in Milwaukee, Wisc., completed a bachelor’s degree in English and theatre arts at Lawrence University. In Ball State’s English Department, she has taught English 103 (Rhetoric and Writing) and served as Assistant Director of the Creative Writing Program.

“I was drawn to Romania because of its rich cultural history and its pursuits in reclaiming Jewish history and stories. I know I can flourish there,” said Haley. “Fulbright will allow me the inspiration to continue my own intellectual pursuits while developing my professional skills. It will help me grow not only as a person, but also as a writer.” After her year with Fulbright, Haley plans to pursue an M.F.A. or Ph.D. in creative writing.

Denver Hammons—who is graduating with majors in English education and theatre education and minors in English as a new language and entrepreneurship & innovation—is currently an alternate for the ETA in Malta.

Makayla Schuelke—a May 2023 graduate with a major in theatre and minors in classical culture and creative writing—is an alternate for the ETA program in North Macedonia.

Two other BSU semi-finalists in this year’s Fulbright competition were Betsy Lynn (a senior with a major in speech language pathology and minors in Spanish and American Sign Language) and Molly Page (a senior with a major in landscape architecture and minor in construction management).

The U.S. Student Fulbright program is sponsored by the U.S. State Department and is aimed at increasing mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and those of nearly 140 countries. This year, approximately 2,100 applicants nationwide are being selected, based on the quality and feasibility of their proposals, their academic and professional qualifications, and their potential to serve as effective cultural ambassadors.

----------------------------------------

May 2024: Chelsea Murdock has been selected for the Fulbright University of Bristol Summer Institute on Arts, Activism, and Social Justice! In mid-June she’ll depart for Bristol, where she’ll spend three weeks exploring the local culture and investigating the ways in which literature, storytelling, music, visual arts, dance, philosophy, and critical social theories have shaped movements for social justice across the globe.

Chelsea, an Honors College student from Fishers, Ind., is completing her freshman year with a major in English education and a minors in African American studies and multicultural education. On campus, her many activities include the Student Government Association and Black Student Association.

“I am so excited about this opportunity, as it will allow me to immerse myself in a global culture that has such a rich history in the realms of Black culture and the humanities,” said Chelsea. “I will be able to use this experience as an eye-opening chance to diversify my understanding of the world around me and gain better cultural competencies to use in my classroom one day."

Two other Honors College students are currently alternates for the Summer Institute at Aberystwyth University (Wales): Lily Haley, a freshman with a major in chemistry and minors in biology andAmerican Sign Language, and Miguel Ortega, a sophomore with a major in psychology and minors in sociology and communication. A fourth Honors College student, Destiny Wells—a sophomore with a major in English (creative writing) and a minor in computer science—was named a finalist to the Bristol Institute.

The Bristol University Institute is part of the Fulbright U.K. Summer Institute Program, which offers freshmen and sophomores from U.S. colleges and universities fully-funded opportunities to explore the culture, heritage, and history of the United Kingdom while experiencing higher education at a U.K. university. This year, the U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission was expected to select nearly 40 students nationwide for seven different institutes.

----------------------------------------

April 2024: A significant BSU milestone was reached this month when three Ball State undergraduates—Kyle Carnes, Simon Webster, and Madison Willingham—were selected for Boren Scholarships!

Federally-funded Boren Scholarships support undergraduate study in regions considered critical to U.S. interests—including Africa, Asia, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East—in order to help students acquire the language and cultural competence needed to communicate effectively across borders, understand other perspectives, and analyze increasingly fluid economic and political realities. Recipients must commit to working for the federal government for at least one year.

Kyle Carnes, a junior with a major in microbiology, will be studying at Lodz University of Technology in Lodz, Poland, for five months, beginning in January 2025. With special interest in environmental remediation, Kyle plans to take coursework, including Polish language courses, that will help him understand relevant issues in the country.

“Studying and conducting research in Poland with the guidance of technology experts and professionals, collaborating with international colleagues, and developing my language repertoire with the Polish language will allow me to build significant and meaningful opportunities for my career and create assurance that what I’m doing may make a difference to my nation,” said Kyle, who is from Noblesville, Ind.

Simon Webster, an Honors College junior with majors in math and mathematical economics, will study Turkish for eight weeks this summer in Baku, Azerbaijan. By living with a Turkish-speaking family and using soccer as a means for meeting local residents, Simon hopes his immersion in the language and culture will help prepare him for a career supporting the United States’ foreign policy in Europe and Eurasia.

“The Boren Scholarship will allow me to build the language skills that I will need in my professional career in government,” said Simon, a Fishers, Ind., resident. “I will experience a different culture and improve my cross-cultural understanding, learning things abroad that could be useful in the future.”

Madison Willingham is an Honors College sophomore with a major in international business and minor in
 Chinese. She will be studying at National Taiwan Normal University, in Taipei, Taiwan, from January to June 2025. With the goal of working for the U.S. State Department, Madison aims “to facilitate communication and understanding between American and Chinese entities, helping them navigate the complexities of intercultural exchange and strengthening partnerships.”

The Elkin, N.C., native adds, “I am really passionate about fostering empathy among those with differing world views, and I believe in the power of open communication for national security. My time abroad will deepen my understanding of diplomatic challenges and prepare me to be a greater asset to the federal government.”

----------------------------------------

April 2024: Jillian Cieslik, a current senior, and two recent graduates—Isabelle Behrman and Kelsey Woodruff—have been selected for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP)! Two other recent graduates also were selected for Honorable Mention.

The NSF GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions.

Senior and Honors College student Jillian Cieslik, who has a major in biology (genetics) and minor in piano, has worked an undergraduate research assistant in an aquatic microbe ecology lab. Her many extracurricular activities included serving as both vice president and president of the Natural Resources and Environmental Management Club.

Off-campus, Jillian completed a Field Museum Women in Science Internship in Chicago, and last summer she interned in the botany department of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, through an NSF-funded REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates).

This fall Jillian will begin a Ph.D. program in ecology and evolutionary biology at Washington University (St. Louis). “I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with plants to uncover their evolutionary history and the selective pressures on the development of key traits,” said Jillian, who is from Lake in the Hills, Ill. Her career goal is to become a research botanist at a natural history museum or botanical garden.

Fellowships were also awarded to two recent graduates:

  • Isabelle Behrman (2023 graduate) had majors in chemistry and Spanish at Ball State, and for more than three years she helped conduct chemistry research on a newly developed acid. In 2022 she received a Goldwater Scholarship, which recognizes outstanding understands in STEM fields. She is completing the first year of a Ph.D. program in materials science and engineering at Northwestern University, as a member of the Sustainable Polymer Innovation Lab. In her career, Isabelle—a Muncie native—plans to teach at the university lab and lead a lab focused on sustainable polymers.
  • Kelsey Woodruff (2022 graduate) completed majors in chemistry (biochemistry) and pre-medical preparation at Ball State, along with minors in French and biology and the Honors College curriculum. She conducted research in a cell biology lab at Ball State for three years and also participated in an REU program at the University of Michigan. Kelsey is now a second-year Ph.D. student in molecular and cell biology at the University of Washington, where she studies the role of sugars on the cell’s surface in regulating signaling necessary for cancer cell growth and chemotherapy resistance. The Richmond, Ind., native is preparing for a career as a researcher and science writer and communicator.

Honorable Mention was awarded to two other recent graduates:

  • Lauren Andrews (2022 graduate) completed a major in chemistry, a minor in biology, and the Honors College curriculum at Ball State. She is now a second-year Ph.D. student in chemistry at the University of Virginia, where she is making compounds that have the potential to become a treatment option for patients with glioblastoma. After completing her degree, Lauren—an Ada, Mich., native—wants to work in the field of pharmaceutical research and development.
  • Kayle Bender (2022 graduate) had majors in biology and chemistry at Ball State. She is now a second-year Ph.D. student in chemistry at University of California, Davis, where she is studying changes in the biomolecules of the central nervous system during development (birth to adulthood) in mice, with a focus on specific carcinoma tumors. After graduate school, Kayle—who is from Fishers, Ind.—wants to work in the biotech industry.

Approximately 2,000 NSF Graduate Research Fellowships were awarded nationwide this year to graduating seniors and to first- and second-year graduate students, with the aim of helping “ensure the quality, vitality, and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States.” Selected fellows receive a generous living stipend for three years, and their graduate institutions also receive a tuition and fees allowance for three years. For more information, visit www.nsfgrfp.org.

----------------------------------------

April 2024: Junior Taylor Bias has been awarded a Goldwater Scholarship, the nation’s most prestigious scholarship for undergraduates planning to pursue research-focused careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) fields.

Taylor, an Honors College student from Elkhart, Ind., has a major in biochemistry and minors in biology and studio art. After completing a Ph.D. in biochemistry, she plans to launch a career conducting research in protein-ligand interactive molecular chemistry and teaching at the university level.

“I want to advance knowledge of protein-ligand interactions to help address health concerns, such as immune responses to infection and disease—and I want to do so as a faculty member engaged in both teaching and research,” said Taylor. “My goal is to work in a team of students and scientists contributing to scientific understanding. In doing so, I want to mentor students in deciding what they want from their own research journeys and give these students the same support that I am currently receiving.”

Taylor has been a research assistant in the lab of Dr. Mary Konkle (Associate Professor of Chemistry) since January 2022, initially through Ball State’s Teacher-Scholar program. She also spent a summer conducting research at Roche Diagnostics in Indianapolis. Her many other pursuits include active participation in Indiana LSAMP (Louis Stakes Alliances for Minority Participation, an NSF-funded program) and Ball State’s Student Affiliates of the American Chemistry Society. She is also a teaching assistant for organic chemistry.

Taylor has given several presentations about her research at the national, state, and campus levels, and she was fifth author for a 2022 article that appeared in ACS Chemical Biology. That same year, she was awarded a national ACS (American Chemical Society) Scholarship, and at the 2023 National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers' conference, she won first place for a poster presentation.

Taylor is the fifteenth Ball State student to receive the Goldwater Scholarship, along with nine others who have received honorable mention. She was one of 438 sophomores and juniors selected this year, from a pool of 1,353 students nominated by colleges and universities nationwide.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to serve as a living memorial to honor the lifetime work of Senator Barry Goldwater. By providing scholarships to college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in STEM fields, the Goldwater Foundation is helping ensure that the U.S. is producing the number of highly-qualified professionals the nation needs in these critical fields. For more information, visit goldwaterscholarship.gov.

----------------------------------------

 March 2024: Emma Hilton, a senior and member of Ball State’s field hockey team, has been awarded an NCAA Ethnic Minority and Women’s Enhancement Graduate Scholarship! She is one of 26 student-athletes selected nationwide for the scholarship, which recognizes “outstanding citizens and excellent role models” in extracurricular activities and academics. Applicants must also demonstrate promise for success in an intercollegiate athletics career.

Emma, who is poised to graduate summa cum laude this May, has a major in exercise science and minor in coaching. She will then enter Ball State’s M.A. program in athletic coaching education, with a concentration in sport performance. She plans to pursue a career in college athletics, specifically in strength and conditioning.

“My determination to succeed, willingness to work hard, and love of encouraging and mentoring others through athletics will enable me to work my way up from an assistant strength and conditioning coach to the director of strength and conditioning at a university, ultimately helping to provide opportunities to students from all backgrounds, including those who have persevered in sports despite challenges,” said the Clark, New Jersey, native.

During her undergraduate career at Ball State, Emma has been a volunteer fitness instructor for the Erskine Green Learning Institute—which offers hospitality and food service training and employment to adults with disabilities—and has been active at two different YMCAs, in both her hometown and in Muncie.

Each year, the NCAA awards $10,000 to 13 ethnic minorities and 13 female college graduates who will be entering their initial year of graduate studies. Learn more at the NCAA website.

----------------------------------------

March 2024: Four Ball State undergraduates—all students in the Honors College—have been selected as finalists for Fulbright U.K. Summer Institutes! The program offers freshmen and sophomores from U.S. colleges and universities fully-funded opportunities to explore the culture, heritage, and history of the United Kingdom while experiencing higher education at a U.K. university.

Lily Haley, a freshman with a major in chemistry and minors in biology and American Sign Language, is currently an alternate for the three-week Aberystwyth University Institute, in Wales.

Miguel Ortega, a sophomore with a major in psychology and minors in sociology and communication, is also an alternate for the three-week Aberystwyth University Institute, in Wales.

Chelsea Murdock, a freshman with a major in English education and minors in multicultural education and African American studies, hopes to spend three weeks in the Black Humanities Institute at the University of Bristol, in England.

Destiny Wells, a sophomore with a major in English (creative writing) and a minor in computer science, hopes to participate in the three-week Arts, Activism, and Social Justice Institute at the University of Bristol, in England.

Lily and Miguel were recently interviewed by representatives of the US-UK Fulbright Commission, and Chelsea and Destiny will be interviewed in mid-April, then learn soon after if they’ve been selected. This year, a total of 38 U.S. students to participate in the seven institutes being offered.

----------------------------------------

March 2024: Mona Hamad, a graduate student in Ball State’s Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) program, was selected as the 2024 Charles Fountain Scholars Graduate Award winner!

The scholarship recognizes “Black, Indigenous, and persons (students) of color in landscape architecture with exceptional leadership and design skills, and who use their skills and ideas to influence, communicate, lead, and advance design solutions for contemporary issues.” Each year, CELA (the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture) selects one graduate and one undergraduate student in landscape architecture for the scholarship.

Mona, who will complete her MLA program in May, practiced architecture and landscape architecture in Khartoum, Sudan, for five years before coming to the U.S. At Ball State she has focused much of her research and design work on a public square in Khartoum that served as the site of a massive sit-in protest in 2019. In her career, she wants to practice landscape architecture “in a manner that adapts to constantly occurring societal changes based on current issues and struggles of the community to help support social equality and raise awareness.”

In being named this year’s graduate Fountain Scholar, Mona commented, “it is an honor to follow into the footsteps of Dr. Fountain’s legacy in serving as an advocate towards fulfilling a diverse professional practice in Sudan in the field of landscape architecture.”

----------------------------------------

March 2024: Lindsey Hayse, a junior with a major in English education and minors in both English as a new language and Spanish, has been awarded a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS)! The scholarship will provide her with two months of intensive language study of intermediate Chinese (Mandarin) in Taiwan this summer.

Lindsey’s time abroad will capitalize upon her virtual study of the language and culture last summer, when she was awarded the CLS Spark for beginning Mandarin. Throughout the current academic year, too, she has participated in the CLS Spark Academic Program. In Taiwan, she will develop language and cultural knowledge to support her career plans to become an English teacher in Taiwan and later an ESL teacher in the U.S.

“Learning my future students’ home language through the CLS program will allow me to both better connect to their frustrations in learning a new language, as well as ensure that I will be able to explain concepts in Mandarin when needed,” said the New Salisbury, Ind., native. “Knowing Mandarin will also allow me to integrate into my future community and break bread with those who live there.”

At Ball State, the Honors College student is an officer in College Mentors for Kids and Alpha Mu Gamma, a foreign language honors organization.

The Critical Language Scholarship is a State Department program that facilitates two months of intensive summer language study in 13 languages considered essential to the United States’ engagement with the world. Approximately 500 undergraduate and graduate students nationwide are selected each year.

Lindsey’s award is the latest of 11 Critical Language Scholarships received by Ball State students over the past 16 years.

----------------------------------------

March 2024: Two fall athletes—Maria Broering and Marie Plitt—have received NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships, which recognize their excellence in academics, athletics, extracurricular activities, and community service. A total of 126 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships are awarded each year, with 21 female and 21 male athletes selected for each sports season. The $10,000 scholarship must be used to support postgraduate studies.

Maria Broering, a member of the soccer team, has a major in biochemistry and a minor in biology and is poised to graduate in May with a 4.00 GPA. This fall the Southgate, Kentucky, native will enter a PhD program in biochemistry, with the goal of becoming a biomedical researcher.

Maria has gained extensive research experience in Ball State’s Chemistry Department, through CRISP (Chemistry Research Immersion Summer Program) and as a research assistant in the lab of Dr. Mary Konkle, Associate Professor of Chemistry, where she studies a protein implicated in diseases like diabetes, Parkinson’s, and cancer. “I aspire to become a principal investigator in academia and conduct research that will advance scientific understanding of the biochemical underpinnings of human health,” she said.

Maria has served as the soccer team representative and secretary for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee at Ball State, and she is also a member of the MAC Council of Student Athletes and the MAC Transformative Leadership Program. In Muncie, she Initiated a STEM youth outreach program at the Ross Community Center.

Marie Plitt, a member of the women’s volleyball team, graduated cum laude in May 2023 with a major in psychology and minors in human development and family engagement. She is now in the first year of Ball State’s three-year Master of Social Work (MSW) program, with plans to become a mental health counselor to student-athletes.

In her professional career, said the Loveland, Ohio, native, “I will be giving back to the community that has meant so much to me throughout my college career. I hope to help student-athletes to thrive mentally and emotionally.” In both high school and college, Marie has been active in organizations that help fellow athletes find mental health resources, including BSU’s Chirp for Change.

Marie helped lead the women’s volleyball team to the 2019 and 2020 MAC championships. By the end of her collegiate volleyball career, she was 6th in BSU’s team history and 26th nationwide for kills. She also set Ball State records as #1 in hitting percentage, number of matches played, and number of sets played.

----------------------------------------

February 2024:  Seattle Greenwell—an Honors College student with majors in public relations and advocacy and minors in theatre and women’s & gender studies— has been named a finalist for the Truman Scholarship! One of the nation’s most prestigious scholarships, the Truman is awarded to juniors who will be the nation’s future change-makers. Deeply committed to preventing intimate partner violence, Seattle has regularly volunteered at A Better Way, a domestic violence shelter in Muncie, throughout her college career. As Vice President of Finance for Alpha Chi Omega, a women’s fraternity at Ball State, Seattle has also led fundraising efforts to support the work of A Better Way over the past two years, among other leadership and service roles on campus.
Seattle Greenwell

After completing her bachelor’s degree, Seattle will enroll in a dual Master of Public Affairs/Master of International Affairs program, with a focus on nonprofit management and international development. With plans for building complementary skills in communication and policy-making, Seattle is determined to play a role in creating a safer world for women, especially in developing nations.

The Truman Scholarship is awarded to juniors who intend to pursue careers in public service and who want to create systemic change.  They must possess extensive records of leadership and demonstrated commitment to public service.  Seattle and other finalists for the Chicago region will be interviewed on March 22.  Approximately 60 recipients will be announced in mid-April, at www.truman.gov.

----------------------------------------

February 2024: Congratulations to the following ten BSU students and alumni (pictured below), who’ve made it to the semi-finalist round for the U.S. Student Fulbright program! Final decisions about recipients will be made by host country committees and announced later this semester.

All are semi-finalists for the English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) program, for which they would help teach English to students in their host country and also carry out self-designed cultural immersion activities.

  • Julia Canty – senior with a major in economics (political economy concentration) and minors in Chinese and international studies – ETA in Taiwan
  • Jayana Fennell – May 2023 graduate with a major in telecommunications (digital production video concentration) and minors in French and American Sign Language – ETA in France
  • Cady Garcia – May 2022 graduate with a major in history and minor in psychology of human development; December 2023 graduate with M.A. in secondary education – ETA in Poland
  • Denver Hammons – senior with majors in English education and theatre education and minors in English as a new language and entrepreneurship & innovation – ETA in Malta
  • Bella Hughes – senior with a major in English and minor in creative writing – ETA in Greece
  • Betsy Lynn – senior with a major in speech language pathology and minors in Spanish and American Sign Language – ETA in Spain
  • Molly Page – senior with a major in landscape architecture and minor in construction management – ETA in Spain
  • Katelyn Redman – senior with a major in German education and minors in history and linguistic & global communication – ETA in Germany
  • Makayla Schuelke – May 2023 graduate with a major in theatre and minors in classical culture and creative writing – ETA in North Macedonia
  • Haley Stevens – M.A. student in English (creative writing concentration) – ETA in Romania

----------------------------------------

December 2023: Six BSU undergraduates—Bryn Edwards, Trey Mathews, Darcy Niewiadomski, Leah Sodo, Mia Thompson, and Tierra Williams—have been awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships for study abroad in the coming months!

The Gilman Scholarship supports undergraduates who are studying abroad. Upon their return to the U.S., recipients are required to carry out a follow-on service project that helps promote international education and understanding.

Bryn Edwards, a junior Honors College student, will study at Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany from April to July 2024. With majors in German and psychology and a minor in counseling, the Carmel, Ind., resident intends to pursue a career as a therapist. “Through studying abroad there are opportunities to learn about other cultures, which is very important in counseling, as every individual is different and has different experiences,” said Bryn.

For her follow-on service project, she intends to give presentations about her study abroad experiences to other foreign language students and Honors College students.

Trey Mathews, of Muncie, will spend 20 weeks studying at Adolfo Ibáñez University in Chile during the latter half of 2024. A sophomore in the Honors College, Trey has a major in Spanish education and wants to offer “a less common international perspective” to his future students. “Bringing that extra layer of knowledge of different dialects will bring my students closer to the language’s full range as a result,” he added.

For his service project, Trey will create a video animation about his experiences in Chile, using a fox character of his own design, then share the video with student groups at Ball State and on YouTube.

Crown Point, Ind., resident Darcy Niewiadomski will be an exchange student at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies in Japan during spring semester 2024. For their follow-on project, Darcy—a junior with majors in Japanese and English—will write and share poetry about their experiences in Japan, then give in-person presentations to second- and third- year BSU Japanese classes upon their return.

“I’ve always wanted to go to Japan, ever since I was a 5-year-old kid bonding over watching Inuyasha with my dad,” said Darcy. “Thanks to the Gilman Scholarship, I’ll be able to fulfill my childhood dream and work toward my professional goal of working as a Japanese translator.”

Junior Leah Sodo—an Honors College student with a biology major (with concentrations in wildlife biology & conservation and field botany) and a minor in neuroscience—will spend nearly three weeks in Namibia this May. The BSU faculty-led trip will allow Leah to explore wildlife and ecosystem management strategies, animal behavior research, and Namibian culture. Her follow-on project will be aimed at members of The Wildlife Society at Ball State, to encourage them to pursue environmental conservation projects abroad.

“In my professional career I will most likely be managing some sort of relationship between people and our beautiful world,” said the Muncie resident, “and in Namibia I will learn how they manage living alongside beasts of the woodland savannas.”

Mia Thompson will spend spring semester studying at Tokyo Gakugei University in Japan. With a major in Japanese education and minors in history and literature, Mia, a sophomore from Avon, Ind., intends to become a language teacher. For her follow-on project, Mia will visit several secondary-level Japanese classrooms, to share her experiences abroad and ways that students can use Japanese language skills in their careers.

“I was fortunate to attend high schools that had wonderful foreign language programs, but I know this is not the reality for every school,” said Mia. “It’s my lifelong goal to become a Japanese language teacher and give more students the opportunity to fall in love with language learning, just as I did.”

Tierra Williams, a sophomore Honors College students from Fishers, Ind., is participating in a winter break trip to Greece. Tierra has a major in computer science, with concentrations in data analytics & machine learning and cybersecurity & secure software design. Her minor in studio art will provide the foundation for her follow-on project, as she plans to show children at Muncie’s Motivate Our Minds how to make tiny Greek-style pots.

Having studied Greek culture in many history courses, Tierra said, “I want to try authentic Greek foods, shop at popular markets, and see how life in Greece is different from life in America and from my preconceptions of how life in Greece should be.”

The federally-funded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program provides up to $5,000* to U.S. undergraduate students pursuing academic studies abroad, in order to better prepare them to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world. (*Additional support is available to selected students who will study Critical Need Languages or conduct STEM research while abroad.)

----------------------------------------

November 2023Anaya Marshall, a fourth-year landscape architecture student, has been selected for the LAF (Landscape Architecture Foundation) Ignite program! She is one of only five students nationwide—and one of only two undergraduates—to be selected for the program, which supports BIPOC students in the profession.

Anaya will receive an annual $10,000 scholarship until completing her landscape architecture education, an annual paid summer internship, and various forms of mentorship. Selection criteria include design aptitude and commitment to landscape architecture and creation of a healthier, more equitable, and sustainable world. Ignite, now in its second year, represents a focused effort by LAF “to make the discipline of landscape architecture as diverse as the communities in which landscape architects work.”

Anaya, who is from Bolingbrook, Ill., also has a sustainability minor and intends to pursue a career focused on creation of environmentally sustainable landscapes, including “green” cemeteries. She also is committed to advancing the place of people of color in landscape architecture. “I’m especially passionate about representing African Americans within the profession. As it is a small community, our voices need to be heard and taken seriously,” Anaya commented. “Tributes to people, places, and events can be evoked through a landscape with the right components and can support and encourage our communities for the better.”

Anaya has already gained geographically diverse professional experience through landscape architecture internships in Indiana, Illinois, and Virginia. On campus, she currently serves as secretary of the Student Chapter of American Society of Landscape Architecture, vice president of academics of National Pan-Hellenic Council of Ball State University, and vice president of Tau Nu Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.

After completing her bachelor’s degree in 2025, Anaya plans to go on to a Master of Landscape Architecture program.

----------------------------------------

August 2023:  Grace Carman, an Honors College senior with majors in public relations and advertising and a minor in theatre, is one of 50 students nationwide to receive a Phi Kappa Phi Pioneer Award! The scholarship, open to Phi Kappa Phi members, recognizes undergraduates who are “developing the research, engagement, and leadership skills necessary to become a successful scholar.” Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest and most selective multidisciplinary collegiate honor society.

Grace, a resident of Versailles, Ohio, is vice president of both BSU’s chapter Public Relations Student Society of America and the Honors Association for Community Engagement. She is also a long-standing leader of Kappa Delta Sorority and the Panhellenic Executive Board at Ball State, among a wide array of other campus and community organizations and activities. Earlier this year she was named a Top 10 Ball State University Student.

Grace is especially passionate about addressing accessibility issues and diversity, equity, and inclusion practices on campus and in her profession.  “Each day I put my experience to use in building environments in my extracurriculars, personal life, and professional life that promote understanding, acceptance, and belonging for others,” she said. 

After completing her bachelor's degree, Grace plans to become a public relations professional in the realm of creative communications.

----------------------------------------

August 2023:  Karisa Candreva, a May 2023 graduate of Ball State University and the Honors College, has received a Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship! Nationwide, 62 fellowships were awarded by Phi Kappa Phi (PKP)—the nation’s oldest and most selective multidisciplinary collegiate honor society—to members who are entering their first year of graduate or professional study. Each PKP chapter may select one candidate to compete for the national awards.


Karisa graduated summa cum laude from Ball Statecompleting a major in natural resources & environmental management, along with minors in sustainability, international resource management, and peace studies & conflict management.

This fall she will enter the JD program in Environmental and Natural Resources Law at Indiana University’s McKinney School of Law. “I am passionate about helping individuals who experience environmental injustices,” said Karisa, “to protect the Earth’s precious resources, such as soil and water, and to challenge environmentally destructive policies through my legal education and work.”

Karisa’s many activities at Ball State included serving as president of the Natural Resources Club and editor-in-chief of News & Notes (the Honors College newsmagazine). She served on the research team that created BSU’s 2019 Sustainability Report, gave a conference presentation on students’ perceptions of their abilities to offset carbon emissions, and developed an Honors thesis that orients students and stakeholders of the university, Muncie, and Delaware County on a range of sustainability issues and opportunities in the area.

In spring 2023, Karisa (a native of Crown Point, Ind.) was recognized as a Top 25 Ball State University Student.

----------------------------------------

July 2023
:  Three BSU undergraduates were selected for Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships for study abroad this summer and fall!  The scholarship awards up to $5,000 to support undergraduates who are studying abroad.  Upon their return to the U.S., Gilman Scholarship recipients are required to carry out a follow-on service project that helps promote international education and understanding.

Angel Esquivel Vazquez, a rising sophomore from Indianapolis, recently spent three weeks in Limerick, Ireland, taking the course “Developing Self as a Healthcare Professional.”  An Honors College student with majors in biology and pre-physician assistant studies and a minor in chemistry, Angel plans to pursue a career in healthcare.

“This incredible opportunity is setting me on the path to becoming a pediatric cardiologist,” said Angel. “I am particularly interested in learning about Ireland’s innovative use of technology in healthcare delivery and its emphasis on preventative medicine…. Thanks to the Gilman Scholarship, I can make my dreams a reality and work towards making a difference in the lives of young patients with heart conditions just like me.”

For his follow-on service project, Angel plans to capitalize upon his upcoming role as Resident Assistant in a BSU residence hall.  He will share photos and stories of his time exploring Ireland and studying at the University of Limerick.  He also wants to help students navigate the process of finding and applying for study abroad programs and scholarships.

Tomiya Hamer, an Honors College student with majors in political science and public relations, recently completed a month-long intensive Spanish language program in Granada, Spain. There she lived with a host family and explored the city and region’s history and culture.

Tomiya, a rising senior from Gary, Ind., said of her study abroad experience, “Because of this scholarship I am now able to say that I am the first in my family to ever study abroad, and I look forward to encouraging others to do the same. I not only learned a lot about Spain but also took personal lessons away as well. I now have confidence in my ability to persevere in uncomfortable situations. Going abroad was a great experience that will aid me as I pursue a career in the field of foreign affairs.”

For her follow-on service project, Tomiya plans to return to her high school and give presentations to seniors on the benefits of studying abroad, with a focus on the culture and people of Granada. 

Franz Lozano, of Muncie, will use his Gilman Scholarship to support an internship in Milan, Italy, during fall semester.  A senior with a major in fashion industry studies, Franz explains that “Milan is one of the global capitals of fashion, and doing an internship in an Italian fashion company will help me establish my career in the industry.”  While in Italy,he will also study the language and explore Milan’s music scene.

Franz’s follow-on service project will be a presentation to Ball State’s Fashion Design Society, to “fill in the gap of knowledge that exists between fashion students and available opportunities to study abroad…. I would love to be the one to inspire others to follow in my footsteps and study abroad.”

His eventual career goal is to start his own fashion business, selling clothing that he has designed.  “Milan,” he said, “is the perfect place for me to learn more about the industry.”

The federally-funded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program provides up to $5,000 to U.S. undergraduate students pursuing academic studies abroad, in order to better prepare them to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world.

----------------------------------------

May 2023: Two graduating seniors—Jess Melvin and Madison Pickering—will be spending the coming academic year abroad, as recipients of Fulbright U.S. Student Awards! Both have been selected for English Teaching Assistantships (ETAs), to help students in their host countries develop English language skills and to serve as cultural ambassadors between nations. Two other graduating seniors—Bernadette Harding and Emma Mikkelson—are alternates for ETA positions.

Jess Melvin, who just completed a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, with minors in French and fashion, will be an ETA in South Korea for 11 months. There, in addition to helping children or adolescents develop their skills in English, she’s also eager to explore the K-pop music scene and to volunteer in the community where she is placed.

Jess’s many activities in both research and extracurricular activities at Ball State have spanned her interests in anthropology, fashion, and music, including her Honors College thesis, on K-pop styling, and her anthropology senior thesis, an ethnography of fashion. This year she has been Collection Assistant for Ball State’s Beeman Historical Costume Collection.

“The Fulbright ETA grant gives me the opportunity to do two things I love: helping others and immersing myself in a culture,” said Jess, a native of Fort Wayne, Ind. “South Korea’s music and fashion scenes are unmatched, so as both a fan and someone who wants to work as a stylist in the music industry, I’ll make some really great memories that will inform my future projects!”

Madison Pickering will be an ETA in the Slovak Republic, where she’ll work with high school students. She also plans to explore theatre and music during her time in the country and interview Slovak artists for “Women with Words,” a podcast she founded and hosts.

Madison, who is from Anderson, Ind., just completed a bachelor’s degree in theatre directing, with a minor in American Sign Language. At Ball State she has been assistant director or director of several theatre productions and an active member of the BSU Theatre Student Advisory Committee Outreach, among other campus and community activities focused on performing arts. She plans to pursue a career in theatre directing, eventually teaching at the university level.

“My mentors always talk about the importance of artists filling our souls so we can turn around and give to other people,” said Madison. “I’m excited to see how living in a new place with different culture, traditions, and people will help me grow as an artist and a human being. I believe that my joy for exchanging cultures and my passion for mentoring students will help me be an effective ETA.”

Bernadette Harding (left), who graduated with a major in theatre (acting) and minor in French, was named an alternate for the ETA program in Luxembourg. Emma Mikkelson (right), who completed a major in theatre education and minor in technical theatre, was named an alternate for the ETA program in Bulgaria. Two other BSU semi-finalists in this year’s Fulbright competition were Delaney Fritch and Madeleine Mills-Craig.

The U.S. Student Fulbright program is sponsored by the U.S. State Department and is aimed at increasing mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and those of nearly 140 countries. This year, approximately 2,100 applicants nationwide were selected, based on the quality and feasibility of their proposals, their academic andprofessional qualifications, and their potential to serve as effective cultural ambassadors.

 
----------------------------------------

May 2023: Architecture major Asher Lafferty-McGill has been awarded a Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grant to support nearly three weeks of study this summer in France, Spain, and Italy! Asher, who has just finished the fourth year of her five-year architecture program, also has a minor in interior design and is a student in the Honors College.

She will be participating in a program led by two Ball State architecture faculty members, with a focus on both the history and future of architecture in Western Europe. “This program will teach me so much about Western European architecture that can’t be taught in a classroom,” said the Frankfort, Mich., native. “We will be seeing architectural details that photos can’t capture, walking the paths that historical figures once walked, and talking with local architects about what drives their passion for design.”

Asher is one of 125 undergraduates nationwide selected for the grant, based on academic achievement, campus and community service, and relevance of applicants’ travel plans to their academic and career goals. “This scholarship will not only help me achieve my dream of traveling across Europe, but it will enable me to see the architecture I’ve been studying for years,” she commented.

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi (PKP) is the nation’s oldest and most selective multidisciplinary collegiate honor society. Ball State established a PKP chapter in 2003.