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KNOXVILLE—When Scott Wofford was sixteen, his grandparents took him and a friend to London and Paris. One night, the boys went out on their own to see a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert.

Scott Wofford in Argentina“We got lost on the way there, arrived and hurriedly paid double for scalped tickets. The show was incredible, and we almost missed the last train back to the hotel. It was definitely a highlight of my adolescence,” Wofford recalled.

Ever since, Wofford has had a bug for travelling. He’s been to Managua, Nicaragua, with his church; Santo Domingo; Ecuador with Habitat for Humanity; and on a summer trip with college roommates to Europe where he ventured to Spain, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, and the Netherlands. While at UT, Wofford studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for five months then took a one-month bus trip from Lima, Peru, to Bogota, Colombia.

Now, Wofford is on his way to Mexico City as one of five current students or recent graduates from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who have received grants from the Fulbright US Student Program to work and study abroad. This is the largest number of student Fulbright winners that UT Knoxville has had in at least twenty years.

Shande KingWofford, of Nashville, will spend ten months in Mexico City, working full-time for Ashoka, an international non-governmental organization (NGO) that helps social entrepreneurs start or expand new NGOs. He will take graduate-level business classes at night.

“I’m thrilled about the opportunity to live and work in such a large, culturally rich city,” said Wofford, who graduated from UT Knoxville in December 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and minors in business and political science.

The Fulbright Student Program provides full grants to approximately 1,700 U.S. students for graduate study and research or work as English teaching assistants in more than 140 countries worldwide each year.

Maha AyeshSponsored by the Department of State and named for the late Senator J. William Fulbright, the Fulbright Program was established by Congress in 1946 to “enable the government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” In addition to the US Student Program, Fulbright also sponsors teaching and research awards for faculty and awards for international students to conduct graduate study at U.S. universities.

Another UT student Fulbright winner is Shande King, of Knoxville, an honors graduate who finished a bachelor’s degree in math and French in May 2010 and his master’s degree in education in May 2011. He will be going to Paris, France, for an English teaching assistantship. He also may teach a math class.

Ariel BrassilKing said he’s looking forward to returning to France, where he studied abroad in 2009, and visiting two of his favorite types of places—French grocery stores and museums. Having a whole year to absorb the French culture will arm him with insights and experiences that will help him make French classes much more interesting for his future American students, he said.

In addition to Wofford and King, the other UT student Fulbright winners are:

  • Maha Ayesh, who earned her undergraduate degree and law degree at UT and has been working as an attorney. She will be going to Jordan to study issues related to the country’s nascent anti-human trafficking legal reform, particularly as it relates to migrant domestic workers.
  • Ariel Brassil, a spring 2011 honors graduate whose degree is in language and world business with a German emphasis. She will be going to Germany for an English teaching assistantship.
  • Amy Hill, a fall 2010 graduate in German. She also will be going to Germany for an English teaching assistantship.

UT’s Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships (ONSF) was established in late 2007, and Michael Handelsman, a professor in Modern Foreign Languages, took over as faculty director in July of this year.

The office helps UT students and alumni apply for prestigious scholarships, such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Gates-Cambridge, and Mitchell. It also assists undergraduates in applying for major scholarships such as the Goldwater, Udall, and Truman.

“This year’s Fulbright winners all put a lot of work into the application process,” said Rebekah Page, ONSF’s assistant director. “I felt really strong about them last year when we did the interviews, but it’s still really gratifying to have them all win.”

Applications for 2012-2013 academic year Fulbright US Student Program competition became available on May 1, 2011. Completed applications are due by September 14, 2011.

“Because the Fulbright program recommends beginning the application at least two months in advance of the deadline, we encouraged interested students to meet with someone in our office last spring. Most of them worked with our staff throughout the summer to prepare the applications they’ll submit next month,” Page said. The final part of the application process is a campus interview that will take place in October.

For more information about national scholarship and fellowships, see or call 865-974-7875.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,