UA Students Win Fulbright Awards

by Diane Kennedy-Jackson
Publications Coordinator, Division of Community Affairs

Note: This story was updated Oct. 27, 2021 to reflect the addition of Matthew “Drake” Southern as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award recipient. 

Tuscaloosa, Ala. – A University of Alabama student has received a Fulbright Student Research Award and five students have won Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Awards for the 2021–2022 academic year. Additionally, two UA students were awarded alternate status in this year’s national Fulbright competition. In addition to this year’s winners, five UA Fulbright Student Award recipients from last year who had their awards delayed as a result of COVID-19 conditions in their host countries are expected to have an opportunity to serve in 2021–2022 as health conditions improve and travel restrictions ease.

Fulbright is the most prestigious U.S. international exchange program, offering opportunities for students, scholars and professionals. The Fulbright Award of the U.S. Department of State offers one-year grants for independent study and research and for English teaching assistantships overseas.

The highly competitive program selects approximately 1,500 award recipients from more than 11,000 applicants each year. The University of Alabama has received national recognition as a Top Producing Institution for Fulbright U.S. Students for five of the last six years.

“During a year of extraordinary challenges, every Fulbright student applicant and their faculty and staff advisors rose to those challenges by demonstrating a commitment to the vital work of advancing intercultural understanding throughout the world,” said Dr. Teresa Wise, associate provost of international education and global outreach. “No matter the circumstances, UA remains steadfast in providing such global learning opportunities to all of our students. We congratulate our 2021–2022 awardees and alternates, as well as those from last year who will now begin their Fulbright experience after a delay due to the ongoing pandemic.”

Fulbright Student Research Award recipient:

  • Malik Seals, of Columbus, Mississippi, received a Fulbright Award to research “Pregnancy and Multiple Sclerosis: Investigating Nature’s Immunosuppressant” at Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin in Berlin, Germany. A 2020 UA Honors College graduate in biological sciences, he has been honored with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award and membership in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the Anderson Society, the Jasons Senior Men’s Honorary, Omicron Delta Kappa, Alpha Epsilon Delta and the Black Student Union Hall of Fame, and he served as president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council. He is currently a graduate student in immunology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he is an Albert Schweitzer Fellow.

Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) Awards offer U.S. students the opportunity to serve in an English classroom overseas assisting the teacher and exchanging culture with the people of the host country.

The 2021–2022 recipients are:

  • Lindsey Drost, of Holland, Michigan, an experienced English Language tutor and Spanish educator in the Tuscaloosa City Schools and a UA English Language Institute conversation partner, who graduated summa cum laude with a BA in German and Spanish and received awards for excellence in German and the best essay in Spanish. Currently enrolled in UA’s master’s program in education, she was selected to teach in Germany.
  • Logan Fenhouse, of Lombard, Illinois, a Blount Interdisciplinary Scholar in the liberal arts, former leader of Beyond Bama Alternative Breaks, Spanish interpreter at Maude Whatley Health Center and mentor with experience tutoring all ages. A 2020 summa cum laude Honors College graduate with degrees in Spanish and interdisciplinary studies and fluency in Spanish, she was chosen to teach in the Canary Islands of Spain.
  • Michael Fisher, of Auburn, a 2020 UA graduate in international relations and German, brings teaching experience in programs that engage communities with special needs (Easter Seals, Best Buddies, Miracle League of Tuscaloosa and Night to Shine Prom) and international experience in Nicaragua. During his Fulbright year of service, he plans to share his American culture through his guitar presentations and music exchanges and build community through service in the classroom and civic organizations. He was chosen to teach in Germany.
  • Matthew “Drake” Southern, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a 2019 UA Honors College graduate in Spanish and Religious Studies and a 2021 MA graduate in Spanish Literature with superior/distinguished fluency in Spanish.  He brings experience as a graduate teacher in the Spanish department, a teacher at The Capitol School, assistant children’s director at Forest Lake UMC, preschool teacher with American Christian Academy, a tutor in English, History, and Algebra at Central High School, a mentor with Proyecto Peru in Cusco, Peru, and a peer tutor in Spanish and Math, completing his TESOL certificate in October 2021.  A guitar teacher, he plans to engage with his host community and language students by learning and sharing folk music. He was chosen to teach in the Canary Islands of Spain.
  • Natasha Stevanovich, of Washington, Michigan, a Delta Phi Alpha German Honor Society and Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society member, UA German Club President, Outstanding Service in German award recipient, Model United Nations Club member, Tuscaloosa County Schools ESL Tutor and UA English Language Institute conversation partner. A 2021 Honors College graduate in German and psychology with a minor in creative media with study experience at Humboldt University in Germany and advanced fluency in German, she was selected to teach in Germany.

The two students who were awarded alternate status for 2021–2022 are Chynna Swann (Thailand) and Katie Tindol (Malaysia). They will be invited to serve should more openings become available.

Recipients of 2020–2021 ETA Awards whose travel was delayed are:

  • Camille Constance Nealey Carr, of Wake Forest, North Carolina, a Blackburn Institute Fellow, a Blount Interdisciplinary Scholar in the liberal arts and a 2019 summa cum laude Honors College graduate in Spanish and political science with fluency in the Spanish language. Currently a secondary education math teacher, she was selected to teach in Colombia.
  • Isabella Rose DeSheplo,of Washington, D.C., a Blackburn Institute Fellow, a member of the Carl A. Elliott Community Service Honor Society and a 2020 UA Honors College graduate with a BA and MA in political science and a minor in public policy studies. She was selected to teach in Bulgaria.
  • Robert “Chad” Hankins, of Mobile, a Blount Interdisciplinary Scholar in the liberal arts, member of The Mallet Assembly and The White Rose Society, certified teacher of English as a Foreign Language and a 2018 graduate in political science with a minor in German, advanced German language competency and the Global Studies Certificate Hankins served as a campaign staff manager for a political action committee for the 2020 U.S. presidential election and is currently enrolled in American University’s School of International Service for the MA in International Affairs: Comparative and Regional Studies. He was selected to teach in Germany.
  • Katherine Lightfoot, of Northport, a discussion facilitator with the UA English Language Institute, an active leader in Model United Nations and German Club, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a Delta Phi Alpha German Honor Society member, a 2019 Honors College graduate in international studies and foreign languages and a Critical Language Scholarship recipient. She is enrolled in graduate studies in German at UA and was selected to teach in Germany.
  • Ian Samlowski,of Madison, an instructor of German in the department of modern languages and classics, a translator for the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center and a fluent German speaker. He holds BA and MA degrees in German from UA with membership in Delta Phi Alpha German Honor Society and was selected to teach in Germany.

“Our campus is proud of these exceptional student leaders in international engagement,” said Dr. Beverly Hawk, director of global and community engagement at the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, “and we appreciate the dedicated faculty, staff and administrators who worked with our students in application for these awards.”

UA Fulbright advisers Megan Wagner Legerski, Dr. Matthew Feminella, and Dr. Beverly Hawk help students polish applications for success in the national Fulbright competition each year. Students with an interest in applying for next year’s Fulbright program can learn more at and, or email