UA Students Receive U.S. Fulbright Program Awards for 2024-2025

Note: The story was updated May 23, 2024 to reflect the addition of Kyrsten Myrup as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award recipient.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Fulbright Program has selected 14 University of Alabama students for various awards for the 2024-2025 academic year.

Fulbright is the most prestigious United States 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 annually.

“Each year, the talent, determination, and wide-ranging interests of our students continue to both amaze and delight me,” said Dr. Teresa Wise, associate provost of international education and global outreach. “I know that all of our Fulbright winners will pursue their interests with a passion and purpose either ignited or nurtured during their time at UA.”

“I look forward to seeing them build on their UA experiences to advance the Fulbright mission of creating mutual understanding among all peoples of the world. Congratulations to all our winners and alternates.”

In February, UA was recognized as a Top Producing Institution of Fulbright U.S. Students for the seventh time in nine years as well as a Top Producing Institution of Fulbright U.S. Scholars for the first time. UA was one of 12 universities in the nation to receive both designations.

Fulbright Student Research Award recipients

A headshot of Sean Atchison

Sean Coffman Atchison, a native of Chatom, is a May 2024 summa cum laude graduate in Latin American studies through UA’s New College. Sean received a Fulbright award to research “Future Power Makers: Perceptions of Democracy among Brazilian College Students and the Impacts of U.S. Foreign Policy” at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. Post-Fulbright, he plans to attend Georgetown University to pursue a master’s degree in Latin American studies.

A headshot of Lucy Besch

Lucy Besch, of St. Louis, graduated in May 2024 with a master’s degree in economics and bachelor’s degree in economics and international studies, with minors in Spanish and social innovation and leadership through the Dr. Robert E. Witt University Fellows Program.  She was selected to participate in the Binational Business Program, which consists of work at a Mexican company and international business classes at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México in Mexico City.

A headshot of Eden Blackwell

Eden Blackwell, of Jackson, Mississippi, is a doctoral candidate in the department of anthropology, focusing on biocultural medical anthropology. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies from the University of Mississippi and a Master of Public Health from Tulane University. She will be conducting research on the holistic impacts of climate change on human wellbeing in agricultural communities in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand.

A headshot of Jonathon Clayton

Jonathan Clayton, of Hartsville, Indiana, will research arsenic’s correlation with pressure variations in water distribution systems in cooperation with Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary. Graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from LeTourneau University and with a master’s degree in environmental engineering from UA, Jonathan is a third-year doctoral student focusing on water distribution system challenges. He also has a passion for teaching K-12 and university students about environmental engineering and water literacy.

A headshot of Annia Gruchala

Ania Gruchala, of Clarendon Hills, Illinois, received a Fulbright award to research “Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Floodplain-Peatland Ecosystems in Poland” at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Warsaw, Poland. She is a May 2024 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering and minor in social innovation and leadership through the Dr. Robert E. Witt University Fellows Program.

A headshot of Morgan Holder

Morgan Holder, of Scottsboro, received a Fulbright award to study at the University of Roehampton in London, United Kingdom, where she will earn a Master of Fine Arts in dance and embodied practice. She plans to study the intersection of dance and neurodiversity. Morgan is a May 2024 summa cum laude graduate with her bachelor’s degree in dance and English, with honors, and minor in the Blount Scholars Program.

Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship 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.

Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award recipients

A headshot of Brady Allen

Brady Allen, of Montgomery Village, Maryland, graduated magna cum laude, earning his bachelor’s degree in environmental science with honors. Brady was selected to teach English in Indonesia.

A headshot of Lukas Baltzer

Lukas Baltzer, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, graduated magna cum laude from UA with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in fall 2023. Lukas is currently an MBA candidate through UA’s STEM Path to the MBA program. He will be serving as an English teaching assistant in Lithuania.

A headshot of Sierra Dugger

Berwyn “Sierra” Dugger, of Montgomery, is a psychology and German major. She is a member of Delta Phi Alpha German Honor Society, St. Francis University Parish and Baby Steps at UA. Sierra plans to pursue a graduate degree in clinical psychology. She was selected to teach English in Germany.

A headshot of Millie Dukes

Millie Dukes, of Millbrook, is a May 2024 summa cum laude Honors College graduate in economics with a minor in Spanish. She was a member of the Pre-Law Association and has been selected to teach English in South Korea.

A headshot of Eric Fager

Eric Fager, of Orange, Massachusetts, is a May 2024 summa cum laude Honors College graduate, and member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history and political science, with a minor in the Blount Scholars Liberal Arts Program. He was selected to teach English in Taiwan.

A headshot of Kyrsten Myrup

Kyrsten Myrup, of Lexington, Kentucky, is a May 2024 summa cum laude Honors College graduate and member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society. She earned dual degrees in French and environmental science, minoring in Russian and liberal arts through the Blount Scholars Program. Kyrsten was selected to teach English in Moldova.

A headshot of Julian Wyatt

Julian Wyatt, of Moundville, is a May 2023 graduate in international studies and German. Julian is a member of the Delta Phi Alpha Honor Society. He plans to pursue a career as a Naval officer. Julian was selected to teach English in Germany.

Additionally, three students were awarded alternate status in this year’s national competition and may have the opportunity to serve abroad if more funding becomes available or if a finalist is unable to participate. They are Joseph Arnold (United Kingdom), Jordan Bosarge (Greece) and Aaron Silvis (Czech Republic).

Students with an interest in applying for next year’s Fulbright program can learn more at or email

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.


Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications,, 205-348-8325