Campus News

Record Number UK Students, Alumnae Named Fulbrights



LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 11, 2011) − Eight students and recent graduates from the University of Kentucky and two 2010 alumnae were selected as recipients of Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarships. The UK recipients are among 1,500 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2011-2012 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. In addition, one of UK's ten winners, alumna Jordan Covvey, received the prestigious three-year Fulbright-Strathclyde Research Award.

"I am excited the Fulbright Program has chosen to honor ten of UK's students, our largest class of Fulbright Scholars to date," says Lisa Broome-Price, director of the UK Office of External Scholarships. "We expect that number will only increase in years to come."

"In addition, we are especially excited for Jordan Covvey on her Fulbright-Strathclyde Research Award. Jordan received the only Faculty of Science Fulbright awarded by the Strathclyde Institute. She competed with the best-of-the-best across the nation to earn such an honor."

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.
The UK students and alumnae awarded Fulbright scholarships for graduate study, research or teaching assistantships are:

  • AdrianaLia Arbeláez-Moutz, a doctoral candidate in voice performance, who will do research in Spain;
  • Yuen "Amie" Chan, a biology and economics senior, who will study in Germany;
  • Megan Collins, a 2010 international studies graduate, who will teach in Germany;
  • Jordan Covvey, a 2010 pharmacy graduate, who will study and do research in Scotland;
  • Matthew Feinberg, a doctoral candidate in Hispanic studies, who will do research in Spain;
  • Nazeeha Jawahir, a biology and chemistry senior, who will teach in Malaysia;
  • Sarah Kachovec, an international studies and Spanish senior, who will teach in Spain; and
  • Jon Otto, a doctoral candidate in geography, who will do research in Mexico.

UK's Rachel Philbrick, who earned her master's degree in classics this May, and Brandon Chase Stamper, who earned his bachelor's degree in German, also were selected to receive a Fulbright Scholarship, but will turn the offer down. A native of Cambridge, Mass., Philbrick has instead accepted one of 33 Jacob K. Javits Fellowships awarded in April by the U.S. Department of Education to enter a doctoral program in classics.

An opera singer and soloist originally from Bogota, Colombia, Arbeláez-Moutz holds two bachelor's degrees in voice and piano at the National University of Colombia. She also holds a master's degree in voice performance from the University of Antioquia, where she served as a voice professor for five years. A doctoral candidate in voice performance at the UK School of Music, she recently completed a graduate certificate in higher education college teaching and learning and a second in voice pedagogy. Currently, she serves as a voice professor at Centre College, where she has also been musical director of fully staged operas and operatic galas. Arbeláez-Moutz has been extensively researching Spanish and Latin American art song and was awarded the Fulbright for voice performance and musicological research, which she will do in Spain.

"My project will analyze the art song production of the important Spanish composer Anton García Abril who remains quite unknown in the United States," says Arbeláez-Moutz, who plans to become a tenure track professor. "The study will include a thorough analysis of a selection of his song cycles for voice and piano, incorporating guidelines for their interpretation by performers. I also will learn new Spanish art song repertoire of other composers from the 19th and 20th centuries and showcase them through lectures and recitals in the U.S. to promote an understanding and appreciation for the invaluable genre of the Spanish art song."

Chan, the daughter of Ming and Sandy Chan, of Paducah, Ky., earned her bachelor's degree in biology and economics this May. She will use her Fulbright for a one-year master of science in public health program called "Health and Society: International Gender Studies in Berlin" at the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin School of Public Health in Berlin, Germany. Chan's career goal is to become a medical doctor and a public health leader.

Fulbright's mission of mutual understanding attracted the scholar to the grant. "As an immigrant from Hong Kong to the small town of Paducah, Ky., at the age of 7, I grew up as almost the sole representative of another culture in small-town Kentucky," says Chan. "Because of this, I have learned not only to appreciate different cultures, but also to play an active role in understanding and promoting cross-cultural diversity. The focus on diversity and cross-cultural understanding of the Fulbright Scholarship will be valuable in my interest of public health."

Collins, the daughter of Patrick and Shelly Collins, of Lexington, holds a bachelor's degree in international studies from UK. Influenced by her experiences studying abroad and learning foreign languages, she applied for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. Collins assistantship will allow her to teach English for one year at a German high school. In the future, the UK alumna is considering a career in speech therapy.

Covvey, of Richmond, Va., earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from UK in 2010 and is currently completing a pharmacy practice residency at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System. She received the highly competitive Fulbright-Strathclyde Research Award, which will allow her to pursue her doctor of philosophy degree at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. While most Fulbright awards are one-year grants, Covvey's will cover three years of study and research. The University of Strathclyde offers five, three-year scholarships in each of the institution’s four schools in science, engineering, business, and humanities and social sciences. Covvey received the only Faculty of Science award provided by Strathclyde this year.

Covvey’s doctoral project will focus on use of comparative medicines in respiratory disease patient populations within Kentucky and Scotland. Through a comparison of practice standards and prescribing statistics, Covvey is seeking to determine if differences in clinical guidelines and medicine use between similar populations result in differences in patient outcomes and cost-effective delivery of health care. This project will involve collaborative research between UK, University of Strathclyde and NHS Scotland.

"This is a dream come true," says Covvey. "As a scholar, having your name associated with the Fulbright Scholarship is the pinnacle, and I am humbled to have this opportunity to represent our country and the UK College of Pharmacy on a global stage."

Feinberg, originally of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, is a doctoral candidate in Hispanic studies at UK. He earned his bachelor's degree in American literature from Middlebury College. Feinberg, who eventually wants to become a professor, will use his Fulbright to continue his dissertation research in Spain.

"I will be carrying out interviews and acquiring documents in archives and libraries in support of my project," says Feinberg, who wants to turn his dissertation into a book manuscript. "I will also be working with a local independent newspaper in Madrid."

Jawahir, the daughter of I.S. and Karema Jawahir, of Lexington, earned her bachelor's degrees in biology and chemistry and two minors in philosophy and Spanish from UK this May. She will use her Fulbright Scholar English Teaching Assistantship to teach in Malaysia. Upon completion of her Fulbright, she will return to Lexington to attend the UK College of Medicine.

Kachovec, the daughter of Katharine and Thomas Kachovec, of Liberty Township, Ohio, earned her bachelor's degrees in international studies and Spanish and a minor in political science from UK this May. She will use her Fulbright Scholar English Teaching Assistantship to serve as an English teaching assistant in Spain, where she could teach any number of subjects in English. In the future, Kachovec plans to pursue a career in education.

"I plan on earning a master's degree in special education, and then working in the bilingual special education field," says Kachovec. "That way, I can combine my love of teaching, Spanish knowledge, and passion for working with children with disabilities."

Otto, originally of Oxford, Ohio, holds a bachelor's degree in international studies and Latin American studies from Miami University. Currently, he is a doctoral candidate in geography at the UK College of Arts and Sciences. Otto will use his Fulbright to work on his dissertation. His research focuses on how carbon forestry projects aimed at mitigating climate change and promoting local development impact local populations in Chiapas, Mexico.

Otto plans to eventually become a professor of geography. "Geography provides the most interesting lens for examining a diversity of social issues," says the scholar.

Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education and athletics and won such prestigious honors as the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, MacArthur Foundation Award and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Fulbright recipients are among the more than 40,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. For more than 60 years, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has funded and supported programs that seek to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education. For further information about the Fulbright Program, visit the website at

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-1754 ext. 229;