Baylor Adds 18th Fulbright Recipient to Record Year for Major Fellowships, Awards

High-level achievements afford opportunities for Baylor students to live, study and serve around the world

Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-709-5959
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WACO, Texas (May 10, 2024) – As the spring 2024 semester concludes, Baylor University is celebrating a phenomenal year for Baylor students and recent alumni earning prestigious and highly competitive fellowships and awards, including two more record-extending Fulbright Scholarships.

Elijah Roberts, a senior University Scholar at Baylor

Elijah Roberts, B.A. '24, a University Scholar with concentrations in classics and biochemistry from Austin, Texas, learned on May 22 that he was selected for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant award to Germany. Roberts is Baylor's 18th Fulbright recipient, further shattering the previous record of 14 Fulbrights at Baylor.

Baylor student and Fulbright Scholar Emily O'Kief

On May 9, Emily O’Kief, a senior University Scholar with concentrations in philosophy, history and French from Seward, Nebraska, became Baylor’s record 17th Fulbright recipient this spring, when she was notified of her selection for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant award to Serbia. 

For the past two award cycles, Baylor has been recognized as Fulbright Top Producing Institution for valuing global connection and supporting members of the Baylor community to pursue international opportunities.

In addition to the record Fulbrights, Baylor students and alumni have earned other major awards – and set a bevy of records in the process – including:

“Another record-setting year is thrilling, primarily because of what it means for the students who have been afforded these opportunities to live and study and serve around the world. I am also thrilled for what it says about Baylor,” said Andrew P. Hogue, Ph.D., associate dean for engaged learning at Baylor. “This is a sign that our students have been transformed by their faculty and staff mentors, have achieved at the highest levels, and are fully prepared for a lifetime of worldwide leadership and service.”

Fulbright Scholars

Fulbright U.S. Student Grants from the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program allow Fulbright recipients to pursue graduate study, conduct research or teach English abroad.

Baylor’s record 18 Fulbright recipients for 2024 are:

  • Kaley Birchfield, senior communication sciences and disorders major from Sammamish, Washington, Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences: English Teaching Assistant award to Spain
  • Annie Himler Cheng, doctoral candidate in history from Eagle, Idaho, College of Arts & Sciences: Study/Research award to Cambodia
  • Coleman Crosby, B.S.Ed. ’20 (Spanish education), from Kansas City, Missouri, School of Education: English Teaching Assistant award to Spain
  • Jennifer de la Fuente, B.A. ’21 (Latin American studies, minor in environmental science), from Mission, Texas, College of Arts & Sciences: English Teaching Assistant award to South Korea
  • Madelene Do, senior health and science studies major and biochemistry minor from Murphy, Texas, Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences: English Teaching Assistant award to Vietnam
  • Isabelle Ford, senior biochemistry major and minor in medical humanities, from Aurora, Colorado, College of Arts & Sciences: Study/Research award to The Netherlands
  • Katrina Gallegos, M.A. ’23 (museum studies), from Albuquerque, New Mexico, College of Arts & Sciences: English Teaching Assistant to Portugal
  • Jacelyn Jamison, senior elementary education major from Plano, Texas, School of Education: English Teaching Assistant award to South Korea
  • Emily O’Kief, senior University Scholar with concentrations in philosophy, history and French, from Seward, Nebraska: English Teaching Assistant award to Serbia
  • Emmalyn Oscarson, B.A. ’23 (international/global studies) from Sanger, Texas, College of Arts & Sciences: English Teaching Assistant award to Romania
  • Elijah Roberts, B.A. '24, University Scholar (classics/biochemistry) from Austin, Texas: English Teaching Assistant award to Germany
  • Manasi Rungta, B.B.A. ’22 (Business Fellows and management), from Houston, Texas: English Teaching Assistant award to Laos
  • Manav Rungta, B.B.A. ’22 (Business Fellows and management), from Houston, Texas: English Teaching Assistant award to Indonesia
  • Genesis Santos, senior elementary education major from Waco, Texas, School of Education: English Teaching Assistant award to Mexico
  • Josie Sawyer, senior political science and Slavic and East European studies from Augusta, Maine, College of Arts & Sciences: English Teaching Assistant award to the Slovak Republic
  • Sophie Webster, B.A. ’23, (University Scholar with concentrations in political science and international studies), from Houston, Texas, Honors College: English Teaching Assistant award to Poland
  • Emily Wicker, M.A. ’22 (Spanish with an emphasis in linguistics), lecturer in Spanish, from Norfolk, Nebraska, College of Arts & Sciences: English Teaching Assistant award to Colombia
  • Emma Wrona, senior University Scholar with concentrations in international studies, political science and economics, from Fort Collins, Colorado, Honors College: English Teaching Assistant award to Taiwan (Wrona also won a 2024 Critical Language Scholarship to study Turkish in Ankara, Turkey.)

Churchill Scholarship

The prestigious and highly selective Churchill Scholarship in science, mathematics and engineering was established at the request of Sir Winston Churchill as part of the founding of Churchill College, Cambridge, fulfilling his vision of deepening the U.S.–UK partnership to advance science and technology on both sides of the Atlantic, ensuring future prosperity and security. 

Baylor’s record 2024 Churchill Scholarship recipient is:

  • Alagu Subramanian, B.A. ’23, a University Scholar graduate with concentrations in biology, medical humanities and business administration, who was one of only 16 recipients of the highly selective Churchill Scholarship in STEM.

Subramanian is Baylor’s fourth consecutive Churchill, an unprecedented success given the University has been a nominating institution for only four years. 

At Churchill College, Cambridge, Subramanian will pursue an M.Phil. in Medical Science within the Cambridge Department of Surgery and the Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute. He will work alongside Dr. Andrew McCaskie and Dr. Mark Birch on a project investigating cellular conditions to enrich stem cells for transplantation as a regenerative therapy for osteoarthritis.

Goldwater Scholarships

The Goldwater Scholarship is the preeminent undergraduate scholarship given in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics that encourages outstanding students to pursue research careers in STEM fields. This is the seventh consecutive year Baylor undergraduates have been named Goldwater Scholars.

Baylor’s record three Goldwater Scholarship recipients are:

  • Sarah Beno, a junior biology major from Albuquerque, New Mexico: Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology, with plans to conduct and manage antibody research in biotechnology industries. Mentors: Dr. Touradj SoloukiDr. Tamarah Adair, Raul Villacob.
  • Allie North, a senior Science Research Fellow from Waco, Texas: Ph.D. in Planetary Geoscience or Geophysics, with plans to conduct research and teach at University level; interested in using geophysical techniques to study behavior and composition of other planets. Mentors: Dr. Peter James, Nick Wagner, Dr. Walter Kiefer.
  • William Smith, a senior Science Research Fellow from Allen, Texas: Ph.D. in Applied Physics, plans to conduct research at the intersection of physics and chemistry while teaching at the university level. Mentors: Dr. Darrin BellertDr. Rizalia Klausmeyer, Dr. Naomi Halas.

Critical Language Scholarships

The U.S. Department of State sponsors the Critical Language Scholarship, part of a larger U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering foreign languages that are critical to national security, economic prosperity and engagement with the world. 

Baylor’s 2024 Critical Language Scholarship recipients are:

  • Josh Browder, a senior University Scholar/international studies major from Norman, Oklahoma, who will study Japanese in Okayama, Japan
  • Taylor Chung, a senior political science and Arabic and Middle East Studies major, who will study Arabic in Meknes, Morocco
  • Emma Wrona, a senior University Scholar/international studies major from Fort Collins, Colorado, who will study Turkish in Ankara, Turkey (Wrona also won a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant award to Taiwan.)
  • Josiah Zeigler, a senior Arabic and Middle East Studies and political science major from St. Louis, Missouri, who will study Arabic in Amman, Jordan

Boren Scholarship

An initiative of the National Security Education Program, the Boren Scholarship provides funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests. 

Baylor’s 2024 Boren Scholarship recipient is:

  • Taylor Chung, a senior political science and Arabic and Middle East Studies major who also won a 2024 Critical Language Scholarship.

As a Boren Scholar, Chung will study Swahili as part of the African Flagship Languages Initiative (AFLI), spending the summer studying Swahili at the University of Florida, which administers the AFLI programs, before spending the fall studying the language in Tanzania.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

The highly competitive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions. In addition, the GRF program helps ensure the quality, vitality and diversity of the U.S. scientific and engineering workforce.

Baylor’s 2024 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship recipients are: 

  • Laura Kusumo, B.S. ’23 (neuroscience) and a Ph.D. candidate in psychology (behavioral neuroscience concentration) at Baylor
  • Heavenlei Thomas, B.A. ’23 (psychology/business administration minor), who is set to begin the Industrial-Psychology graduate program at Rice University

GEM Fellowship

The prestigious GEM Fellowship from The National GEM Consortium offers M.S. and Ph.D. students with opportunity and access to dozens of the top U.S. engineering and science firms and universities and promotes opportunities to enter industry at the graduate level in areas such as research and development, product development and other high-level technical careers. GEM also offers exposure to opportunities in academia.Baylor’s 2024 GEM Fellowship recipient is:

  • Auldynn Chambers, a senior mechanical engineering major from McKinney, Texas, who will pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

Office of Engaged Learning

The Office of Engaged Learning at Baylor University is a central hub of programs through which students discover opportunities to maximize their undergraduate education by learning beyond the classroom. OEL faculty and staff work with a diverse array of students to connect the transformational work they do in the classroom to opportunities for application and engagement, from competing for major fellowships and awards at the national and international level to partnering alongside programs such as McNair Scholars and Provost’s Scholars. 

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.