Recent UofL graduate wins Fulbright to Brazil Alumna Jessica Williams never gave up hope that she would earn the award

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    Jessica Williams, a 2015 graduate, strikes a pose while visiting Salzburg, Austria. She has now earned a Fulbright scholarship to Brazil.
    Jessica Williams, a 2015 graduate, strikes a pose while visiting Salzburg, Austria. She has now earned a Fulbright scholarship to Brazil.

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. —A University of Louisville graduate has learned that persistence pays off.

    Jessica Williams tried three times to earn a prestigious Fulbright scholarship. Last week her diligence was rewarded: she was selected for the prize and will spend most of 2018 in Brazil as an English teaching assistant at a public university.

    “Receiving the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Brazil means more to me than words can adequately express,” Williams said. “I have had this personal goal and dream to live and teach in Brazil for over four or five years now and now knowing my goal has been realized is indescribable.”

    Williams first applied for a Fulbright in 2015 when she was a college senior. Although she wasn’t selected that year, she had an impressive back up plan: teach for the Spanish government in Madrid. She did that for two years and recently returned to Kentucky to work with a law firm that focuses on immigration law.

    But her stay in Kentucky will be short. She begins her stint as a Fulbright scholar in February.

    Patricia Condon, who heads the national and international scholarship program at UofL, said candidates often apply multiple times for the scholarship.

    “People typically think of a Fulbright award going to an undergraduate college student the same year as they finish their degree,” Condon said. “But a student who has graduated can continue to apply each year and there’s no age limit for the award.”

    Williams brings the number of 2017 UofL Fulbright Scholars to six. Since 2003 the university has had 110 Fulbright scholars, more than all Kentucky public institutions combined.

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    Cindy Hess
    Cindy Hess has more than 30 years of experience in communications, marketing and investor relations, including more than a decade at UofL. She is "sort of" retired but happy to come back to the Office of Communications and Marketing to help with special projects and assignments.