• Six Bears headed abroad thanks to prestigious Fulbright Awards

    Clockwise from top left, Conner, Martin, Demons and Spies

    [5/22/17 update: Two more Bears received Fulbright honors after we published this piece; the headline has been updated, and their information added at the end of the original story.]

    The fact that it’s become commonplace for multiple Baylor students to earn Fulbright honors in a single school year — see here, here and here for examples — might make you think such honors are no big deal. Quite the opposite, actually; the Fulbright Award is one of the most competitive and prestigious honors a college student can receive, and the fact that almost 50 Bears have earned such recognition since 2001 says a lot about a Baylor education.

    This year, two more Baylor students — senior biology major Jade Connor and senior University Scholar Emily Martin — have received Fulbright Awards. Two other Bears –recent Baylor alumna Taylor Demons and assistant nursing professor Lori Spies — have also been honored by the Fulbright Program this year. This year’s winners plan to use the awards in a variety of ways:

    Jade Connor received a Fulbright study grant, which she will use to pursue a master’s degree studying governance and leadership in European health at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Her passion is to improve the quality of life for patients with various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, and she hopes to return to the U.S. after completing her degree to pursue those goals.

    Emily Martin received a Fulbright English Teaching Award, and will spend next year teaching English in Germany. Martin came to Baylor with dreams of serving as a diplomat and focusing on Russian, but began learning German her sophomore year and was inspired to spend a semester as an exchange student at the University of Freiberg in Germany. She hopes to pursue her doctorate and teach German and Russian at the university level after college.

    Taylor Demons, BA ’16, graduated from Baylor a semester early last year with a degree in international studies, then spent the last year working with Baylor’s Texas Hunger Initiative. This year, she was tabbed by Fulbright to serve in the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program to teach English in Taiwan. Demons speaks Mandarin, the most commonly spoken language in Taiwan, and hopes to pursue a career as a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State.

    Dr. Lori Spies, an assistant professor and missions coordinator in the Louise Herrington School of Nursing, received a 2017-18 Fulbright Global Scholar Award, which will fund teaching and research opportunities on noncommunicable diseases in India, Vietnam and Zambia. Not surprisingly, Spies is no stranger to service and scholarship abroad. She has spent the last decade training nurses in Uganda, in addition to providing training in numerous other countries and serving as co-founder of the North Texas African Health Initiative.

    Katerina Levinson & Luke Pederson

    [Update] Katerina Levinson, BA ’17, graduated from Baylor magna cum laude in May as a University Scholar. As a Baylor student, she studied abroad in Madrid two years ago; this fall, she’s headed back to Spain on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. There, she’ll serve in a classroom by providing assistance to a local English teacher.

    [Update] Luke Pederson, a junior University Scholar, will spend four weeks this summer studying at a Fulbright Summer Institute in England — specifically, the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies at Durham University. Highlights of the trip will include conducting archaeological laboratory work, attending classes at Durham and excavating a Roman fort and town nearby.

    Four Six Baylor Bears, all finding ways to serve abroad through their own unique callings at their own unique stages of life — worldwide leadership and service, indeed.

    Sic ’em, 2017-18 Baylor Fulbright Award Winners!