Rising CHASS sophomore Jessica Hatcher is spending her summer in Scotland. But she’s not your typical tourist. Hatcher has received a Fulbright Summer Institute scholarship to study at the University of Dundee and the University of Strathclyde. The Fulbright is considered one of the most prestigious and selective summer scholarship programs operating world-wide.
Created by treaty in 1948, the US-UK Fulbright Commission is part of the Fulbright program conceived by Senator J. William Fulbright in the aftermath of World War II to promote leadership, learning and empathy between nations through educational exchange. Only about 50 UK and US undergraduate students are selected for Fulbright Summer Institute participation each year. Notable alumni include Malcolm Bradbury, novelist; Liam Byrne, politician; Milton Friedman, economist and Nobel Prize winner 1976; Charles Kennedy, politician; John Lithgow, actor; Tarik O’Regan, composer; Sylvia Plath, poet; and Ian Rankin, novelist.
The commission selects participants through a rigorous application and interview process. In making its awards, the commission “looks not only for academic excellence but a focused application, a range of extracurricular and community activities, demonstrated ambassadorial skills, a desire to further the Fulbright Program and a plan to give back to his or her home country upon returning.”
Outside her studies at NC State, where she’s earning her bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in education, Hatcher writes for Technician, works as a research assistant in the English department, and is active in the University Scholars Program, the English Honors Program, and the English Club, where she serves as vice president.
Hatcher is looking forward to experiencing Scottish culture first-hand. “I know that participating in the program will help me to grow as a person and become more globally aware,” she said. “I hope to gain new perspectives and learn more about the culture, history, and music of Scotland.” She’s also interested in exploring the role of Gaelic in Scottish communities.
The Commission is funded partially by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills in the UK and the US Department of State, with additional support coming from a variety of individual and institutional partners.