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Fulbright program helps graduates study abroad

Sept. 9, 2003

By Sandi Villarreal, reporter

The Sept. 30 deadline for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is approaching quickly for those students wishing to apply. The program is among the most competitive in the country and provides students with an overseas educational experience.

'The Fulbright Scholarship is one of the most prestigious academic awards there is, and Baylor has a fine record of getting students recognized for the scholarship,' said Dr. Lianne Fridriksson, director of the Fulbright Program at Baylor and associate journalism professor.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants graduates from accredited universities the funds to pursue one year of academic study or research in one of more than 140 countries.

The program offers approximately 1,000 awards each year to students in fields ranging from engineering to the performing arts.

'I am interested because of the experience I can gain,' Katy Dvoracek, a Temple junior, said. 'The world is so big, and we're only exposed to the American view. This is a chance to see how other countries work when it comes to education.'

The program was created in 1946 by the United States Congress and sponsored by Sen. J. William Fulbright in order to provide an exchange of differing ideas and to gain a better understanding of other cultures. Since its inception the program has aided more than 85,000 U.S. students and more than 146,000 international students.

The annual competition is headed by the Institute of International Education in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State and the various institutes of higher education.

Following the application deadline of Sept. 30, the applicants will be evaluated by a panel of Baylor professors who will then send the applications to the Fulbright office in New York City. The U.S. Fulbright Committee will review the applications and make its recommendations. Those applicants who make it through the screening will be considered by the committees in each of the various countries.

Students from any field who will have a degree by Fall 2004 are eligible for consideration in the program. The applicant must be proficient in the written and spoken language of the potential country of study.

'I am planning on applying for the program in Spain,' Lindsay Johnson, a Shreveport, La., junior, said. 'I want to learn through a different environment by surrounding myself by an entirely different culture.'

While the screening process is intense and competitive, Dr. Fridriksson encourages all students who are interested to contact her.

'If you don't try, you're not going to get anything,' she said. 'The only way to stand a chance in getting what you want out of life is to take a shot at it.'

Students who are interested in the program can contact Dr. Lianne Fridriksson in the journalism department at 710-6349 or by e-mail at Lianne_Fridriksson@baylor.edu.