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Honors Students: Tuscan Thompson and Alison Shimko Awarded Fulbright


Elizabeth Gamarra Tuscan Thompson and Alison Shimko have received highly competitive Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board for the 2016-2017 academic year. The prestigious awards will allow both Elizabeth and Alison to teach English in Spain and Tuscan to teach in South Korea.  Claire Taylor is an alternate and will receive the award if openings are created.

Elizabeth, Tuscan and Alison are two of 1,900 US citizens who will teach, conduct research, and provide expertise abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Tuscan and Alison, both undergraduates, are members of the Honors College earning their Honors degrees this spring. Recipients of Fulbright Awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields.

The US Fulbright program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build relations between people in the US and the people of other countries that are needed to solve global challenges. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriate made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

Fulbright recipients address critical global challenges in all areas, while building relationships, knowledge, and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 54 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 92 who have received Pulitzer Prices, and 33 who have served as a head of state or government.

For further information about the University of Utah Fulbright program, please visit or Howard Lehman, Director of the Fulbright Program:



Alison Shimko, Honors student, BA/BS in Spanish, Speech and Hearing Science and a minor in Psychology

            English Teaching Assistant Fulbright, Spain

“I have always been interested in teaching and having an impact on someone’s life is the driving force behind my application. I’ve taught to high school and middle school students in the past year and have been learning Spanish from a very young age. When I studied abroad, I was amazed by the different influences of cultures on the Spanish language and how it has evolved over the years.”

Tuscan Thompson, honors undergraduate in Biology

    English Teaching Assistant Fulbright, South Korea

“I’ve been learning foreign languages almost non-stop for the past nine years, but I’ve rarely had the opportunity to teach my own language to others. The few times I have, I’ve enjoyed the experience immensely. I want to teach in Korea, not only because I have experience with Korean high school students, but because I’m interested in their emerging scientific community and I hope to one day support multi-national scientific work through policy-making.”

Elzabeth Gamarra, Master of Social Work with emphasis in Mental Health and a

Graduate Certificate in Women’s Health

            English Teaching Assistant Fulbright, Spain

I am interested in exploring the impact of self-compassion mindfulness interventions in classroom settings for confidence enhancement of second language learners. I am interested in gaining a European/Spaniard perspective on the foundational concepts of social work in relation to teaching.”


Claire Taylor, MS in Environmental Humanities

            Research Fulbright, New Zealand

Informed by encounters with wildlife and immersion in ecosystems, I propose to create artwork about New Zealand’s wildlife issues. I will create this work through the structure of a research-based MFA program at either the University
of Auckland or Auckland University of Technology. I would like to create artwork that inspires connection with and protection for wildlife and native ecosystems, and a MFA program would strengthen my abilities to do this.

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