HIGH POINT, N.C., May 7, 2019 – High Point University seniors Kendal Karstens and Erica Schimmel have received Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants to teach English in eastern Europe during the 2019-2020 academic year.
As Fulbright Finalists, Karstens and Schimmel were both selected for Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships from the U.S. Department of State and J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. They will serve among the more than 2,100 U.S. citizens studying, conducting research and teaching abroad through the program.
“We’re delighted to have two exceptional seniors selected for these highly competitive grants,” says Dr. Meredith Malburne-Wade, director of fellowships and awards. “Kendal and Erica are deeply invested in the future of the world and share an intense curiosity about international affairs. As students, leaders and citizens, we’re proud of them for serving as ambassadors of our university and our country.”
Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as their record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.
Karstens will teach English in Belarus. She will also study Russian and Belarusian and learn more about Belarus’ culture, politics and history. An HPU Presidential Scholar and Army ROTC cadet, Karstens will graduate with a degree in international relations from HPU in May. She will also commission into the U.S. Army as a Second Lieutenant in the Signal Corps. Karstens studied abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia, as a student and was also selected for a Critical Language Scholarship.
“Fulbright will allow me to advance my knowledge about the post-Soviet world, an area of interest to me since high school. I am excited to serve my country and new Belarusian community beyond my future military career,” says Karstens. “This wouldn’t have been possible without my incredible mentors. High Point University offers students a unique college experience, where professors and faculty feel as attached to the dreams of students as the students do. Their unwavering support can’t be matched at any other university.”
Through Schimmel’s Fulbright award, she will travel to Moldova to teach English and reinforce her Moldovan and Romanian language skills. She will also be exposed to new ideas within a different culture.
“I am incredibly thankful to have received this honor and have the opportunity to work in a country and culture that I have been looking forward to immersing myself in. I am excited to learn as much from the people I meet there as I hope to teach them,” says Schimmel. “I appreciate all of the help that I have received from my professors, my recommenders and Dr. Malburne-Wade for helping me to reach this point and continually pushing me to do better.”
Schimmel will graduate in May having majored in three subjects at HPU – international relations, political science and French/Francophone studies. As a student, she served as a writing tutor and subject tutor with a focus on helping ESL learners. She is also president of the French Club.
“Kendal and Erica have distinguished themselves as model international relations students and through their active involvement in the university and High Point community,” says John Graeber, assistant professor of political science. “Given their shared passion for international politics, Kendal’s ambition for national service and Erica’s remarkable aptitude for language, I am thrilled – but not at all surprised – that they would be selected for Fulbright awards to teach abroad. This is a wonderful opportunity for them both.”
The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and other countries. The program operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.