Student and Academic Life

UK Senior Among the 1st Awarded Fulbright Canada-MITACS

photo of Hannah Thomas posing by tree
UK senior Hannah Thomas among the first students selected to receive the Fulbright Canada MITACS Globalink Research Internship.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 27, 2020) The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced that biology and health, society and populations senior Hannah Thomas has been awarded a Fulbright Canada-MITACS Globalink Research Internship in the program’s inaugural year. Through this highly competitive opportunity, students undertake advanced research projects in Canada for 10 to 12 weeks in their area of interest.

During her internship, Thomas will perform research under faculty supervisor Bilkis Vissandjée, a professor in the School of Nursing and a researcher at the Institute of Public Health Research at the University of Montreal. Vissandjée’s research works to address the challenges associated with providing quality of care in a multiethnic context within a gender, migration and equity sensitive perspective.

“I have always admired the health care system in Canada, and I am elated at the chance to gain a comprehensive understanding of their unique health care system that I have studied for so long through the lens of social justice,” Thomas said.

Thomas, the daughter of Dan and Heather Thomas of Hendersonville, Tennessee, is a Chellgren Fellow, Gaines Fellow and member of the Lewis Honors College. She is involved with undergraduate research and completed an internship at Bellevue Hospital in New York City in summer 2019. She also volunteers with the Alternative Spring Break program, the Kentucky Children’s Hospital Ronald McDonald Family Room, and completed a Summer International Health Fellowship with the Foundation for the International Medical Relief of Children in Kodaikanal, India.

Upon completing her bachelor’s degrees in May 2021, Thomas plans to attend medical school. She credits Mairead Moloney, assistant professor of sociology with joint appointments in the Health, Society and Populations program and the Department of Gender and Women's Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Jaspreet Chahal, research project manager in the Center for Research on Violence Against Women, for serving as mentors during her time at UK.

The Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, part of the Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Student and Academic Life, assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with the office's director, Pat Whitlow, well in advance of the scholarship deadline.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.