Scholars who attended a campus celebration in their honor. From L-R: Lee Sims, Katie Maurer, James May, Devin Brown, Tasneem Karim, Karen Udoh and Praneeth Goli. Sims, Maurer and Udoh are Fulbrights. May is the 2017 James J. Mitchell Scholar. Brown and Karim are Critical Language Scholars and Goli was an honorable mention for the Barry Goldwater Scholarship.

For more than a decade, UofL scholars have been winning big when it comes to academia’s most coveted scholarships.

Happily, 2018 is a repeat performance with students and alumni earning 10 Fulbrights, five Critical Language Scholarships, three Boren Scholarships, two Public Policy and International Affairs Program Fellowships and one Rotary Global Grant Scholarship.

“This is certainly exciting news for our institution,” UofL President Neeli Bendapudi said. “But what’s even more important, these prestigious awards are a perfect example of how our campus community puts students first. If you read the web page profiles on these award-winning scholars, you will see many examples of how our faculty, staff and administrators have inspired and mentored students on their academic journey. That’s something that really sets UofL apart from other institutions.”

Recent graduate Karen Udoh, who earned a Fulbright, said UofL’s culture supports students who seek academia’s top awards.

“UofL introduced me to research opportunities,” said Udoh. “Being in the honors program — they let you know what opportunities you can pursue. They helped me believe in myself.”

Another Fulbright winner and recent graduate, Emma Jacobs, said her first meeting with Dr. Patricia Condon, who heads the national and international scholarship program, was when Jacobs was a sophomore.

“Ever since then, she has given me straightforward and honest advice on how to improve my application. It is evident she cared for my and other students’ dreams as she consistently organized and led workshops for Fulbright throughout the year,” Jacobs said.

Including this year, there have been 120 UofL Fulbright scholars since 2003 — more than all other Kentucky public institutions combined. The university set a record in 2016 with 15 scholars, besting the previous record of 14 scholars in 2010 and again in 2011.

During an event to celebrate the 2018 scholars, Acting Provost Dale Billingsley told attendees that students are the “beneficiaries of the steadily higher arc of performance” in the scholarship program. He thanked Condon and her colleagues Bethany Smith and Dr. Charlie Leonard for their many hours of work to help scholarship applicants. 

“We have an incredible team at this university,” said Condon. “Without the help of Bethany and Charlie and the ongoing support of the honors program, university administrators, and the specialized faculty mentors, we simply couldn’t have had such resounding success.”

Here are a few interesting tidbits about this year’s honorees:

  • All of the winners are from Kentucky.
  • Six scholars were named as Fulbright alternates. That means they could still receive the prize if more funding becomes available or if a finalist declines the award.
  • Fulbright winners Christian Bush, Robert Gassman and Kyle Hilbrecht have a lot in common: they are all McConnell Scholars from Louisville, were college roommates, political science majors and will teach in Asia as part of their award.
  • Three of the Critical Language Scholars — Tasneem Karim, Lance Gibson and Nada Kaissieh—credit Professor Khaldoun Almousily for igniting their interest in Arabic. Almousily was recognized in 2016 for inspiring four students to study Arabic and earn a CLS award.

Full profiles of UofL’s 2018 scholars are available online