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Mount St. Mary's Fulbright scholars set their sights abroad

MSMU Fulbright 2017Frederick News Post link to article

March 28, 2017

Mount St. Mary’s University recently found itself in the national spotlight as its men’s basketball team made a run to the NCAA tournament. Now, the school is celebrating an academic accomplishment.

A December Mount graduate and a senior expected to graduate in May have been named to receive Fulbright U.S. Student Awards. A third woman who is a current student is closing in on final acceptance as a scholar, too.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants to recent college graduates and graduate students to participate in English teaching programs in more than 140 countries.

Samantha Solis, of Frederick, and Alyse Spiehler, of Abbeville, Louisiana, were recognized at a ceremony Tuesday on the school’s Emmitsburg campus. Another senior, Brigid Flay, is waiting to receive word on her application for the award.

Solis, 21, of Petersburg, New Jersey, graduated in December with a double major in English and Spanish. She will be away for eight months as part of the program. She said she would like to use that time at a school in Argentina to get teaching experience to help pursue an academic career.

But she said she’s still considering whether to do the program, after being accepted to a Ph.D. program in literature at UCLA.

Spiehler, 21, said she’ll graduate in May with degrees in philosophy and English. She said she’d like to get a master’s degree in philosophy, and is looking at several programs.

Meanwhile, she’ll do her Fulbright program teaching English in Mexico.

She said she likes to read philosophers who try to understand moral behavior and lead moral lives, and would like to find a way to connect philosophy with people’s needs.

Flay, 21, has already gone through the Fulbright U.S. Student Awards acceptance process.

She was waiting to hear back from officials in Kazakhstan about her program. She is not officially considered a Fulbright scholar until she is approved by her host country.

She would like to have a career in diplomacy and international relations. She said she was recently accepted into a master’s program at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies in Monterey, California, to study international trade and economic diplomacy.

Flay said she’d been to Russia in her freshman year and went again in the fall of 2016, and has been taking classes in Russian at Frederick Community College.

Jamie Gianoutsos, the director of fellowships at Mount St. Mary’s and an assistant professor in the history department, said all three women had challenged themselves and gotten everything they could out of the school.

Several years ago, the school worked to set up an independent fellowship program to try to identify promising students early and help them apply for programs, she said.

Students are identified during their sophomore years and pushed to connect their classroom learning to real-world issues. They read news sources and have lunch every month with faculty to discuss world events.

Mount St. Mary’s had a Fulbright winner in 2015, but he declined the offer to pursue a doctorate in history at the University of Chicago, Gianoutsos said.

*Staff photo by Bill Green: Mount St. Mary's University students recently named finalists in the Fulbright U.S. Student Awards Program are, from left, Samantha Solis, an alumna, and Alyse Spiehler. Brigid Flay, right, is awaiting final confirmation that she will also be a Fulbright fellow.

More coverage of our Fulbright students can be found in the Mount News and on the WHAG website

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