Maybe you read about it in the Omaha World-Herald, the Lincoln Journal Star or elsewhere, but UNL recently announced its ninth student Fulbright scholar for this year. That’s the highest number of student Fulbright awards named in a year at UNL. I’m proud to say that seven of them have ties to the College of Arts and Sciences.
Such a record comes at a time when more students are recognizing what a tremendous opportunity this is. The program reported an increase in applications this year. Nine Fulbright winners in any year would be commendable. Nine in a year when competition was particularly tough draws even more attention to the strength of our students.
The increased participation in the Fulbright program also shows the amount of foresight our students have. As the world becomes more interconnected, our students are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of global competency. They’re seeking out ways to understand other cultures as well as their own role in a global community. Seeking out Fulbright scholarships is just one way they are pursuing this type of learning.
As a college, we are responding, too. Sunil Narumalani, our associate dean for faculty, has taken over our International Studies Program to enhance its offerings. The program already has more than 200 majors, but we think there could be many more. We’ve also put greater emphasis on encouraging students to pursue such studies, whether as a first or second major, to better prepare them and to give them an advantage in a competitive job market.
We believe strongly that these students have great potential for making their mark on the world. Not surprisingly, they seem to be tuned in to that fact, too.
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