May 8, 2018 – Continuing the tradition of scholastic achievement at Florida Southern College, three of this year’s graduating seniors have been named 2018 recipients of Fulbright Awards. Kylie Torres of Clearwater received an English Teaching Assistant Award, and Elise Barnes of Marietta, Ga., and Leyna Stemle of Wesley Chapel received Study/Research Awards. In addition, Natalie Aleman, who graduated from FSC in 2016, received an English Teaching Assistant Award.
These talented scholars will travel to countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe to pursue independent research or help teach English while serving as cultural ambassadors for the United States.
- Natalie Aleman, who spent the past year working in Milan, Italy, will teach English at a business school in the Czech Republic. Aleman graduated with a degree in business administration and minors in psychology and Spanish and was a member of FSC’s Enactus Club, the international student organization that is dedicated to creating sustainable business models in which the proceeds improve the quality of life in the community. Following her 10-month Fulbright term, she plans to enter an Americorps program focused on preventing human trafficking in Florida.
- Elise Barnes, who graduated with honors with a degree in exercise science, will use her award to pursue a master’s degree in sports science and physical education at the highly selective École normale supérieure (ENS) in Rennes, France, continuing research she began at FSC on improving the movement of dancers. It will be a return trip to France for Barnes, who traveled there as part of FSC’s Junior Journey program. After completion of the two-year program, she is considering advanced study in physical therapy.
- Leyna Stemle, the college’s 2018 Honor Walk student and honors graduate with a degree in marine biology, will travel to Ghana and conduct research on how to prevent sea turtles from becoming ensnared in the nets of traditional fishermen. She was president of the FSC chapter of Beta Beta Beta biology honor society and traveled to Africa previously as part of a Junior Journey research program. Following her Fulbright research, she will enter the Ph.D. program in marine biology at the University of Miami.
- Kylie Torres, who graduated with honors with a degree in music education, will teach English at the National Taiwan College of Performing Arts in Taipei, Taiwan. She was a flutist in the FSC Symphonic Band and traveled to Taiwan previously through Junior Journey. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in school psychology upon completion of her Fulbright term.
The Fulbright Student Program is the most selective and prestigious overseas study program in America. It is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It offers opportunities for recent graduates and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide.
This year’s Fulbright award recipients exemplify academic excellence at FSC. Last year, students receiving Fulbright and Goldwater awards taught English abroad and pursued research projects at nationally recognized centers such as the National Cancer Institute.
“Elise, Leyna, Kylie, and Natalie represent the highest academic and civic standards of Florida Southern College,” said President Anne Kerr. “They have demonstrated superb scholarship, principled leadership, and an unselfish commitment to service. I am certain that their Fulbright experience will be invaluable as they fulfill the College’s mission to make a positive and consequential impact on the world.”