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Furman graduates receive Fulbright honors

Last updated May 16, 2022

By Tina Underwood, Contributing Writer

Four Furman University graduates have received Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants from the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. The honorees include:

  • Leanne Joyce ’22, a German studies graduate on the pre-med track who has received a teaching assistantship in Germany
  • Taylor Moore ’22, a German studies and sociology graduate who has received a teaching assistantship in Germany
  • Alecia Nichols ’16, a Chinese studies and Spanish alumna who has received a teaching assistantship in Peru
  • Beth Palmisano ’22, a German studies and politics and international affairs alumna who has received a teaching assistantship in Austria.

As Fulbright participants, they will teach abroad for the 2022-2023 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected in an open, merit-based competition that considers leadership potential, academic and/or professional achievement and record of service.

Typically, Furman Fulbright recipients serve their assistantships directly post-graduation. Others, like Nichols, pursue a Fulbright years later.

white woman with mountain in background, Alecia Nichols '16

Alecia Nichols ’16

“Receiving this Fulbright ETA grant is an incredible honor,” Nichols said, “and for me it means the chance to further develop my teaching skills as well as follow my passions for art and sustainability through my community engagement project.”

“In the classroom, I plan to start a language exchange program to connect my Spanish students in the U.S. with Peruvian English learners using virtual learning technology,” added Nichols, a Spanish teacher at J.L. Mann High School in Greenville.

“Having participated in Furman’s STARTALK Chinese program both as a student and a counselor, I’ve seen firsthand the incredible benefits of live language exchange between native speakers, and I want to use this exchange approach for many years to come,” she said.

Beyond her work in the classroom, Nichols also plans to use her passion for the arts to build relationships with indigenous artisans and tradespeople during her time in Peru.

“In the United States we have lost much of our indigenous history,” Nichols explained, “but Peruvians have fiercely protected the traditions and artifacts of their native peoples for thousands of years. By learning from indigenous experts how to maximize local resources and live more in connection with the land, I hope to bring back new ideas for self-sufficient living and sustainable art creation to my hometown and other rural communities in Appalachia.”

Leanne Joyce ’22

Joyce and Moore will be placed in schools in the west central state of North Rhine-Westphalia for their English Teaching Assistantships.

“As a German studies major on the pre-medical track, I am grateful for the interdisciplinary support I received to make this dream a possibility,” Joyce said. “I am thankful for the professors in the German studies department for giving me the confidence to apply for the Fulbright. This opportunity epitomizes the liberal arts experience that Furman promotes.”

white woman in white shirt, Taylor Moore '22

Taylor Moore ’22

Moore said she’s looking forward to applying her double major in German studies and sociology during her Fulbright stint. “Completing a Fulbright in Germany provides an excellent avenue to do that. I feel very honored to be awarded this grant,” Moore said.

white woman sitting at table, Beth Palmisano '22

Beth Palmisano ’22

Palmisano anticipates exploring other cultures more deeply. “I never imagined I would be given an opportunity to widen my worldview further in such an immersive way, and I am so grateful to my German professors for the continuous support throughout the application process and my time at Furman,” said Palmisano, who will teach in Austria’s second-largest city, Graz. “Receiving this award will open up even more opportunities to combine my interests in the workings of society from both political and cultural standpoints.”

As Fulbrighters, these graduates enjoy careers enriched by joining a network of thousands of alumni, many of whom are leaders in their fields. Fulbright alumni include 61 Nobel Prize laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize recipients and 40 who have served as a head of state or government.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program and is supported by the people of the United States and partner countries around the world. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the program.

Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 400,000 participants from over 160 countries the chance to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

This story was updated on June 10 to reflect an additional Fulbright honoree.

Last updated May 16, 2022
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Clinton Colmenares
Director of News and Media Strategy