Eight Fulbright recipients lead UofL top scholars
The University of Louisville announced June 7 that eight scholars have won the prestigious Fulbright award and an additional 17 have earned prominent scholarships that include the Barry M. Goldwater, Boren and Critical Language scholarships.
“Today we celebrate 25 individuals who have earned some of the most competitive academic awards in the world,” said UofL President James Ramsey. “It feels good to know that UofL has once again produced more Fulbright winners than any other university in Kentucky and that we are helping dozens of top scholars reach their highest potential.”
UofL has been working for years to expand and improve its international scholarship program. Since 2003, UofL scholars have earned 68 Fulbright awards, more than all other Kentucky colleges combined.
About 30 percent of UofL scholars who apply for a Fulbright are selected for the scholarship, said Patricia Condon, who heads the university’s National and International Scholarship Opportunities office.
“That’s an incredibly impressive statistic,” Condon said. “It shows that our students and graduates are on par with the most elite institutions in the nation.”
Here are this year’s Fulbright recipients. Click their names to read more about them.
Fulbright Research Scholarship to Germany
Benzinger will conduct research on the treatment of right-sided heart failure at Aachen University’s Helmholz Institute of Applied Medical Engineering through both a Fulbright scholarship and a Whitaker International Fellows Award for bioengineering. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in bioengineering from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. Through UofL bioengineering internships, Benzinger has worked on the design of medical devices for which patents are being sought. She has volunteered at a Louisville hospital, as a math tutor and as a participant in the UofL Dance Marathon, helping to raise money to support local hospitals. She is from Fort Wright, Ky., and attended Notre Dame Academy in Park Hills, Ky.
See Benzinger’s video interview.
Fulbright Research Scholarship to Austria
Carter is a composer who specializes in electro-acoustic music. His Fulbright will allow him to continue to work within this niche at the University of Music and the Dramatic Arts in Graz. Carter’s music has been performed at UofL and at the Brevard Music Festival in western North Carolina. A native of Oxford, N.C., he studied for a year in Karlsruhe, Germany, and also studied piano performance, composition and theory at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. He holds a master’s degree in music from the UofL School of Music.
See Carter’s video interview.
David Javier Thompson
Fulbright Research Scholarship to England
Thompson will study refugee communities’ reactions to trauma at the University of Essex. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of Arts and Sciences and is proficient in Spanish. Thompson interned at the Transcultural Psychiatry Program at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, Spain. He also has worked as a refugee tutor at Kentucky Refugee Ministries, an after-school tutor at a local library that helps immigrants learn English, a literary magazine editor and a university writing tutor. His future plans are to enter a doctoral program and continue to pursue his interests in community and medical infrastructure, as well as refugee mental health resilience. He is from Corydon, Ind., and attended Corydon Central High School. He also has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.
See Thompson’s video interview.
Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Turkey
Flynn will teach English in Turkey. A Jones Scholar, Flynn also received the Modern Language Fund Scholarship and the Overseer’s Honors Mentor Program Scholarship for her success as a mentor. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the College of Arts and Sciences. As a UofL student, she studied abroad in Spain and Turkey, and participated in a medical service trip to the Dominican Republic. Flynn was heavily involved in Kappa Delta sorority, where she held such offices as philanthropy chair and vice president. She was historian in the pre-health honors society Alpha Epsilon Delta. Flynn plans to specialize in immunology research and to teach at the university level. A Louisville native, she graduated from the Christian Academy of Louisville.
Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Taiwan
Hugenberg will spend a year in Taiwan teaching English. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the College of Arts and Sciences. As an undergraduate, Hugenberg studied abroad in Spain, and received a National Peace Essay Scholarship from the U.S. Institute of Peace. She served in a leadership post with Kappa Delta sorority, was a student director of the Freshman LEAD program, worked as a legislative intern at the Kentucky State Legislature and as a teaching assistant in the University Honors Program, and mentored freshmen with the UofL Resources for Academic Achievement (REACH) program. She also has volunteered with the Girl Scouts. Hugenberg was a UofL Trustee’s Scholar. From Lakeside Park, Ky., she graduated from Notre Dame Academy.
Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Oman
Merkle will teach English in Oman. She earned a bachelor’s degree in art history from the College of Arts and Sciences after serving for four years as a U.S. Marine Corps logistics officer. Her military assignments were to Afghanistan, Djibouti, Croatia, Greece and the Seychelles. At UofL, she minored in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies. She also volunteered with Community Garden in Louisville and has helped Iraqi refugees learn English. Merkle has studied in Morocco with the Kentucky Institute for International Studies. Ultimately, she hopes to work as a university instructor after earning a doctorate in Middle East and Islamic studies. She is from Amboy, Wash., and in 2004 received a bachelor’s degree in oil painting from the University of Washington at Seattle.
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Korea
Singleton will teach English in Korea. He holds a bachelor’s degree in humanities from the College of Arts and Sciences, where he was a Trustee’s Scholar and a Dean’s Scholar. He focused his studies primarily on the late 19th and early 20th century periods and had a concentration in disciplinary studies (art history and French). Since 2007, he has worked at Geek Squad City in Brooks, Ky., and has become well-versed in video game technology and Manhwa cultures. He considers this to be a strong foundation for working with Korean high school students. Singleton hopes to gain English as a Second Language certification after returning to the United States and plans to pursue a master’s degree in East Asian studies. He is from Valley Station, Ky., and attended Butler Traditional High School in Louisville.
See Singleton’s video interview.
Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Indonesia
Yuen will teach English in Indonesia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the College of Business. A 2011 recipient of a Benjamin Gilman International Scholarship, Yuen studied business and Chinese at Beijing Foreign Studies University. She also pursued Asian studies courses in 2010 at the University of Hawaii at Manoa with Cardinal Covenant funding and the National Student Exchange. At UofL, she minored in international business and plans to pursue a career in that field with a specialization in the Pacific Rim nations. Yuen is from Louisville and graduated from duPont Manual High School.
See Yuen’s video interview.
UofL students also received other prominent scholarships, including the David L. Boren, Benjamin A. Gilman International and Barry M. Goldwater. Read more about them.